Friday, November 20, 2009

My Droid Can Blow Your Frackin' iPhone Away

Motorola recently introduced the Droid handheld device into a very crowded cellphone/PDA space in which the iPhone owns the mindshare of consumers. The name Droid resonates perfectly with the industrial design of the new phone and with the market positioning Motorola intends. Plus, it's fun to say, short, easy to remember, and spelled fairly unambiguously. Of course the name is derived from Google's Android operating system, which is in turn derived from some Google hacker's idea of the perfect from science fiction. The name and domain had to be licensed/acquired, from Lucas Films I believe-- a luxury little companies don't have. Apparently the original prototypes had no radiuses at all on the edges; just a hard, sharp black brick of a phone. This bad boy could hurt you. (Cool...danger in the cubicle.) The team dialed back a notch on that approach, but softened the edges only slightly.

Can you imagine a positioning of this product more distant from that of the iPhone, while still basically delivering the same functionality of an iPhone? The message is clearly "Go ahead and buy an iPhone if you're worried about breaking your manicured nails or harmonizing with the decor of your Prius, but buy the frackin' Droid if you are one bad ass dude who does real work...Director of Enterprise B2B Solutions or something.

In some ways it's easier to name a product when a dominant player has staked out such a clear position. You need to be different. You construct a product that is as different as possible, hopefully in some useful way. Then, you name the product to support that opposite positioning. Well done.