Research In Motion recently purchased a new domain name: BlackPad.com. Can RIM's BlackPad and HP's PalmPad take on Apple's iPad?
Since both RIM and HP have settled on "-Pad" product names, it is little wonder what device the two firms could be targeting with these as-yet unannounced products.
According to Whois' records, RIM purchased the domain "BlackPad.com" just a few days ago. This could mean anything. The first conclusion we naturally jump to is that "BlackPad" is the name of the much-rumored BlackBerry tablet device. That's a distinct possibility. RIM sometimes buys up the domain names that reflect its products.
RIM also may have purchased the domain to prevent others from using it in association with some future product that RIM might announce. For example, RIM might have bought Pearl3G.com years ago to prevent others from causing confusion with RIM's product of the same name. In this hypothetical example, RIM might never choose to use the Pearl3G.com domain. It simply holds onto it to protect its intellectual property.
It could also be a part of RIM's online domain registry strategy, which means that if -- perhaps 10 years down the road -- RIM happens to create a product with that name, it already owns the domain. That's not an unheard-of practice.
For the mean time, however, let's assume the first conclusion is the correct one: the domain reflects the name of its unannounced tablet device. Is "BlackPad" a good name? Why use "pad" and not "tablet" or some other equivalent? Why give Apple the recognition and free publicity by stealing part of its product's name? You don't see Pepsi naming itself Pep-Coke, or Dr. Pepsi, do you? What happened to "TabletBerry"?
We can add the BlackPad to HP's PalmPad as a potential duo of iPad-fighting devices. HP applied for and was awarded a trademark for the PalmPad name just last week. The trademark specifically applies to "Computers, computer hardware, computer software, computer peripherals, portable computers, handheld and mobile computers, PDAs, electronic notepads, mobile digital electronic devices," which leaves a lot of room for HP to make all sorts of webOS-based products.
HP has confirmed that some form of enterprise tablet is in the works, though it has revealed very few details about it. RIM hasn't said much about the possibility of a tablet, but it's widely expected by many.
What I want to know is, what will other competitors choose to name their tablet devices. Lenovo will surely go with "LePad." Dell will probably select "StreakPad." Motorola may muster up "MotoPad" or "MPAD." What do you think? What future does "--Pad" have?
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