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I go to this one cafe a lot. Like any good neighborhood spot, it has its regulars. I'm a morning regular and so are a bunch of other folks I recognize there, including these two guys who usually sit outside and I sometimes exchange "What's up?"s with. 

So this morning I'm walking by and they're sitting outside and we say What's Up. And we get to chatting and the one guy says, "Hey, wait, you're the guy who was on TV talking about the iPhone, right?"

"Yup, that's me." And I explain to him what it is that I do for a living.

"So can I ask you a question?" 

"Sure," I say.

"My buddy here has a Droid. And whenever I send him photos he can't save them. You know how to do that?"

I look down to the table in front of the guy's friend. He's got a G1 in his palm and he's opening up his SMS/MMS messages for me to take a look at.

"Which Droid do you have?" I ask, knowing the answer but curious to hear his response.

"The first one," the guy's buddy says, holding up his brown G1.

Nobody knows what Android is. Nobody aside from phone geeks and marketing people. Everyone knows Droid, nobody knows Android. Droids are Verizon's domain, but this guy has the original Droid, a G1 that runs on T-Mobile. You know who wins in this scenario? Verizon wins because they actually sell "Droids." HTC sorta wins because they made the G1 and now they make a few Droids for Verizon. Google wins because at least for now they continue to always win.

But everyone else who makes and sells Android OS devices loses. Because when Jim, the guy from the cafe, goes into an AT&T or Sprint or T-Mobile store he's not going to ask for "an Android OS smartphone." He's going to ask for a "Droid." And while there's a decent chance he'll get a sales person who can explain what "Android OS" is and show him a delightful T-Mobile myTouch or a lovely Samsung Intercept, there's also a decent chance he'll get an AT&T/Sprint/TMo rep who says, "Oh, I'm sorry sir, we don't carry Droids." Because, well, they don't. Only Verizon carries Droids.

You know how you know all about Android and webOS and such because you read awesome tech sites like this one? Well, most people don't. Most people watch TV and read magazines and see billboards and that's how they get their info on which new smartphone to buy. And for every ad for any individual Android device that they see, they see at least two for "Droid." Droid, Droid Incredible, Droid X, it doesn't matter: It's all Droid. Droid is catchy, Droid is easy to remember, Droid Does, blah blah blah. 

That's good marketing. That's why Jim's buddy has a Droid, and not a T-Mobile G1 with Google, as it was actually called when it launched a few years ago, well before anything was actually called "Droid."

And that's why nobody knows what "Android" is and nobody cares. It's Droid, baby, Droid. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, I hope you're training those sales people to show would-be customers what Droids you've got in stock when they walk into a store asking for them. 'Cause if you're not, the folks over at Verizon will be more than happy to.

UPDATE: Yes, I showed him how to long press on photos in received MMS messages and save them to his SD card. Thanks to everyone who asked.


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