Droid Tries Harder - InformationWeek

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IoT
IoT
Infrastructure // PC & Servers
Commentary
11/6/2009
01:41 PM
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Droid Tries Harder

Ever since Avis made it respectable for a brand to be #2, there have been many really good examples of trailing entrants into product markets that achieve success, especially in the technology world. Is Motorola's new Droid the latest example?

Ever since Avis made it respectable for a brand to be #2, there have been many really good examples of trailing entrants into product markets that achieve success, especially in the technology world. Is Motorola's new Droid the latest example?There's no way around seeing it as anything but sorta like an Apple iPhone. It's how journalists and bloggers describe the launch -- either as a specific competitor, or as a reaction to the general direction of the smart phone space, thanks to iPhone specifically -- and you can't talk about the product design or functionality without at least oblique references to what (or how) iPhone performs. Droid's advertising relies on the comparisons.

So while it has to live or die standing on its own, it's intriguing that it's all but impossible to consider it without considering its competition. I know we use comparisons to make up our minds and buy things, but does the Droid branding accentuate the "secondness" of the product vs. it being truly "different?" Would there be any way to avoid it, even if it wanted to?

It's certainly not a game-changer product, and there's no reason to believe that the services behind it are anything but similar from the support available for the iPhone (and, in the case of multimedia support, perhaps not as good?). For those differences that are positives, I'd guess the majority of them are incremental, just as the benefits are more nuanced than breakthrough. That's not to say that Droid isn't a totally cool and highly competitive smart phone, but rather that there are many cool entrants in that market. "Different" isn't synonymous with "better." Being a new product isn't the same thing as being "new," if you get my point?

iPhone was new. It's why its competitors all look and act like it, sort of, kind of. I'm sure I'll get comments or hatemail telling me that I'm a numbnut for not realizing that shooting more pixels or running multiple apps are accomplishments just shy of finding the lost Ark of the Covenant, but that's the navel-gazing typical to the techobsessed. Go to the Droid site and try to fathom the single most obvious breakthrough attribute that makes this smart phone as must have over all other smart phones.

From my perspective, the site works overtime to tell me that Droid tries harder.

Jonathan Salem Baskin is a global brand strategist, writes the Dim Bulb blog, and is the author of Bright Lights & Dim Bulbs.

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