Which smartphone name brand is better?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from Arizona
Published: March 3, 2012

When it comes to phones, you’ve got options. It is one of the best parts of being a fan of the mobile industry. The sheer fact that we have so many different devices to talk about, usually all the time means that we’ve got plenty to talk about. For our weekend conversation, why don’t we focus on a subject we’ve only touched on in the past? Specifically, let’s take a look at the “name brands” that the major wireless carriers have, and see what you guys think of each of them, and how they compare to one another.

First, let’s get one thing clear: the name brands don’t necessarily mean anything. Yes, each of the name brands stand as the “sentinels” of the carriers, but they don’t always point as the “top-tier” devices available for the network. At least, not in every case.

With that being said, there’s no doubt that these carriers have put quite a lot behind their name brands. Their brands. While some carriers don’t necessarily promote the same way, there should be no doubt that T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T and Verizon hang quite a bit on those names. There’s always something else to buy, but that doesn’t change anything.

(We’re going to keep tablets out of this conversation, as they aren’t as common for what we are talking about.)

So, first, let’s start with Sprint. The Now Network, the carrier that was quick to adopt Android and didn’t hesitate to build around their EVO name. It started with the EVO 4G from HTC, which launched in June of 2010. It wouldn’t be until January of 2011 before the next EVO found its way to store shelves, with the EVO Shift 4G being released. Next, we’ve got the EVO 3D, which launched in July of 2011. Finally, we’ve got the EVO Design 4G, which launched in October of last year.

And then we’ve got T-Mobile. The Magenta Network’s brand is the myTouch, which started way back in 2009 with the HTC myTouch 3G. It would be a year later (but with plenty of variations of the original myTouch 3G in between) before a new myTouch device would find its way into the market, as the myTouch 3G Slide was released in June of 2010. The myTouch 4Gwas released in November of 2010, and the myTouch 4G Slide was launched in July of 2011. The myTouch and myTouch Q were released in November of 2011.

AT&T. Big Blue doesn’t have a brand name in the same vein that we’re discussing here. I’m actually only including them here, because I want to ask a pretty simple question: do you care? Do you think AT&T should be focused on launching a brand that customers can relate to AT&T directly? There’s no doubt that AT&T was kind of using the iPhone as a brand when they had their exclusivity period with Apple’s smartphone, but now that that’s over, AT&T doesn’t have anything of the sort. Does that matter to you?

And then we’ve got Verizon. Big Red. The wireless carrier that managed to go for broke (not literally, at least not that we know of) when they chose their name brand route. Instead of picking something original, they decided to utilize an already trademarked title, and so was born the DROID brand name under Verizon’s flag. It started with the original Motorola (OG!) DROID, which launched in November of 2009. It was released side-by-side with the DROID Eris by HTC. The HTC DROID Incredible was next, finding a release in April of 2010. Next, the Motorola DROID X and DROID 2, which were released in July and August of 2010, respectively. The Motorola DROID Pro was released in November 2010. In the month of May 2011, there were two DROIDs released: the Samsung DROID Charge and the DROID X2 by Motorola. The DROID 3 by Motorola launched in July of 2011, and the DROID Bionic in September. The DROID RAZR launched in November of last year, and the DROID RAZR MAXX followed in January of this year. And, finally, the DROID 4, which was launched this month.

Yeah, that’s a lot of DROIDs.

I’ve asked you in the past if you think the DROID name has kind of lost its point, and after seeing that fleshed out list (missing even a few alterations, mind you) I think that sums it up pretty well. But obviously the DROID name still matters to Verizon, and there are still people out there who equate DROID to Android, which means it works. But, is it better than any of the other brands out there?

So you tell me, based on the fact that the name brands don’t necessarily mean that you’ll get a high-end of high-end devices, but that it’s just a name on a phone, does it really mean anything? And, most importantly, which brand name is the best? EVO, myTouch, or DROID? Or, is it AT&T’s plan to not ave a brand name?

Let me know.