HTC needs some serious reform when it comes to naming devicesAnna Scantlin - Contributing Editor
I've been carrying my HTC One for over a month now, and I'm happy to say that this is by far the best Android phone that I've ever owned. Then again, the last Android phone I owned for an extended period of time was the HTC EVO 3D, which I could have dropped in a puddle of acid and not lose sleep over it at night. I really wasn't impressed by the device despite its dual-core processor (which was a top spec at the time) or the gimmicky "3D" features. The only thing I truly remember enjoying about the phone was the carousel animation for Sense 3.0 (purely for entertainment purposes - it wasn't that useful for landing on the right page). Point being that I haven't really owned an Android since Ice Cream Sandwich was just rolling out, and even then I myself had only experienced up to Gingerbread before switching to iOS. It's expected that Android would vastly improve two software versions later. But I digress; this article isn't really about Android so much as it is about HTC.
First of all, I would like to say that I love my HTC One and this isn't in any way trying to bash the phone for what it is, but I do think it could have been more successful if it had been named something else.
It's my job to keep a close eye on all major releases and news that come from big name manufacturers, and over the past year I've had an exceptionally close eye on HTC. Not because they've released anything particularly noteworthy (aside from the One, of course) but because of their uncanny ability to make my head spin with the names they come up with, or rather the names they recycle... over and over and over, again and again and again. It gets confusing, especially to customers who are looking for a particular device and end up getting confused with a different model with a completely different name.
I will say that I think the latest One line is getting the point across more clearly with the One Mini, One Max (presumably named), but then you still have the issue that HTC decided to keep using "One" in the name of this game-changing flagship device, which I feel is kind of holding it back. I can't say that the previous "One" line, which features models like the HTC One V, One SV, One VS, One S, One X, One X LTE, One X+ and One XL, was all that bad except for the fact that there were 8 of them released within a single year. That and they really just weren't that great or noteworthy. Maybe it was because HTC confused the ever-living daylights out of any potential customer. I also find it ironic that they named their line "One" and then released like, 10 of them. I'm glad they learned not to release 8 variations of the same device, but following in Samsung's footsteps by releasing an initial flagship, a bigger and smaller variant of the flagship, and a Google Edition variant is still confusing as you have to fall back on that whole using the One name again for a completely different line of devices.
Besides the One, you have that other phone they tried to play up earlier this year, the HTC First, which a few people I've talked to have actually confused the First for the One. I have had three friends so far question why I liked "that Facebook phone" so much when I first started talking about getting the One. Initially it didn't really hit me as being that confusing, probably because I read up on these phones every day and knew the difference, but I realize now that to the average consumer this naming technique really kind of sucks. Couldn't we have named the HTC One the HTC Two, as in 2.0? "2.0" usually means a better, improved and updated version of something. It's notably moving up from the HTC One X, S, SV, etc. line. To me, judging by names alone it looks like the HTC One is actually a device that was released prior to the old HTC One line, generally because you keep adding more letters/numbers to future incarnations of the device, not erasing them. If somebody who didn't know anything about Androids had a choice between the HTC One and the HTC One X, they would probably assume that the One X was the better, newer device. I mean, it's easy to tell which Samsung Galaxy S device is the newest or which Apple iPhone is the newest; they're listed as such in clear chronological order. HTC just seems like it's all over the map, but as long as it has something to do with the number one, they're golden.
HTC had a lot of other things it needed to improve on as well to make the HTC One a real success, and I believe they really did a good job when it comes to design both in hardware and UI with Sense 5, but I think it could have built up the HTC One device more by naming it something completely different, something that set it apart from previous, similar-sounding versions not only by design, but also by name.
Readers, what are your thoughts on this subject? Do you think that HTC could do better with a clearer difference in device names, or do you think that names have nothing to do with how successful a phone is on the market? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Images via WideFide, HTC