September 24, 2011

How to prevent people from thinking about your product...

This is something that just totally bugs me. The epic STUPIDITY of giving products awkward names that are hard to remember or use. A few years ago we were looking at cars, and we looked at a CRV and an RAV and an MDX!. All of which started to blur together in my mind almost immediately. (We bought a 2001 Honda CRV, which we love! Recommended.)

Or go to and look at digital cameras. You see names like Samsung EC-ST65, or Casio EX-S200SR. STUPID. How long are those names going to stick in your head? Probably the people who own those cameras don't remember their names.

But this new phone truly takes the prize. (I'm not knocking the product, just the name. It sounds like a pretty cool machine. I wish my iPhone had such a big screen.)

Sprint Epic 4G Touch review — Android Central:

...It's time to add fast to those superlatives. OK, how about faster. That's really the bottom line with the Samsung Galaxy S II, Sprint Epic 4G Touch. That's its entire, official name, punctuation and all, depending on who you ask. It's a little ridiculous, to be sure. But a big, fast phone perhaps deserves a bombastic name.

The SGSIISE4GT, which is how we're abbreviating it at least one time, is the first version of Samsung's Galaxy S II to be released in the United States....

What was the very first thing Steve Jobs did when he returned to Apple? He simplified the product line, and simplified the names. I remember scratching my head over choices like Performa 5300 and Performa 5400 and Performa 6300. Bigger numbers did not mean newer or more powerful, so it was perplexing. And frustrating.

Jobs slashed the Mac line to just four things. One each consumer and pro desktops, and consumer and pro laptops. (The laptops were called iBooks and PowerBooks, two all-time great names.)

You would think other companies would learn this trick, wouldn't you?

"Samsung Galaxy S II, Sprint Epic 4G Touch." A name to conjure with! A sexy name. A name that rings like a bell. A name that stirs our deep subconscious longings for romance and poetry and adventure...

Posted by John Weidner at September 24, 2011 5:55 PM

Sometimes products are given names by their buyers, after purchase.

The Performa 6300 you mentioned is known as the "Road Kill Mac". Memorable, but somehow Apple never really embraced the moniker.

Posted by: Ed Hahn at September 26, 2011 9:11 PM

That's good.

The Jobsian simplicity had its own big nomenclature drawback, in that there was no simple way to refer to a particular version within a line. The 2001 Power book was not identical to the 2000 one, but they had the same name.

Those in the know used Apple's internal code names. I think mine was a "WallStreet."

Posted by: John Weidner at September 27, 2011 8:05 AM
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