the product naming blog

June 20, 2012

Intel Embraces Xeon Phi Naming for Its New Chip

IntelXeonPhi.pngThe news that Intel has a new multi-processor chip and that it is going to be called Xeon Phi is pretty interesting.

This is a chip with "50 brains," which is probably the best way a non-technical person might think about its power.

Intel says "As we add Intel Xeon Phi products to our portfolio, scientists, engineers and IT professionals will experience breakthrough levels of performance to effectively address challenges ranging from climate change to risk management."

In other words, this is one impressive computer chip, and probably a big step forward for high performance computing.

Its code name was originally "Knight's Corner" and can do a trillion scientific calculations a second, a unit of computing charmingly called a "teraflop" (not to be confused with a "megaflop" and a "petaflop").

The Xeon Phi brand is set to be around for quite a while, partly because these chips can be integrated into equipment users already own.

This is the introduction of a new set of brands that will possibly usher in a new era of supercomputing, or "exascale" computing as the geeks call it.

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Posted by William Lozito at 8:58 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 4, 2012

Will We Ever Understand Wii U Product Naming?

WiiULogo.pngIt's probably not a surprise to most gamers, but the Wii U product name will remain on Nintendo's upcoming home console.

This is a source of disappointment for some bloggers who are quick to point out that this product naming decision caused much confusion when it was announced in 2011.

By only tacking on the "U," many people thought is was just a tweak on the base unit, "like the DS Lite, DSi and DSi XL launched in previous years" suggests IGN, who already lambasted the Wii U name in an editorial as "too clever for its own good" because it doesn't differentiate the hardware from previous incarnations.

This may lead to a similar situation as the Nintendo 3DS where the company was forced to put red stickers on the boxes to differentiate them from the DS system while also reminding the people watching their TV advertising that "This is not DS. This is Nintendo 3DS."

I blogged about this earlier this year, pointing out that you really have to dig hard to figure out that Wii U is a whole new console. But Nintendo is adamantly sticking to the name, probably assuming we've figured it out by now.

As one blogger put it last month when it looked like the name was sticking around, "The Wii U Name is Final, Deal With It." I probably couldn't have put it better myself.

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Posted by William Lozito at 8:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 14, 2012

Apple's Decision to Change iPad Product Naming Across the World Isn't "Ridiculous"

No4GiPad.pngIt appears Apple has caved to Australian advertising watchdogs who have been pressuring the company to change its iPad product naming from "iPad Wi-Fi + 4G" to "iPad Wi-Fi + Cellular."

The problem?

The carriers in Australia aren't capable of a 4G quality network for the new iPad. The new iPad with 4G LTE only seems to properly function in the U.S. and Canada on a total of five carriers.

The new naming isn't for Australia alone, but also for the U.S., Canada, UAE, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, New Zealand, Malaysia, Ireland and Hong Kong. The iPad 2 will stay with the name iPad 2 WiFi + 3G.

Apple recently posted this message on the Australian online store:

This product supports very fast cellular networks. It is not compatible with current Australian 4G LTE networks and WiMAX networks. For service from a wireless carrier, sign up for a simple, month-by-month plan on your iPad and cancel anytime without penalty.

And "for the sake of absolute clarity" Apple is placing notices at points of sale in their retail stores as well.

The reaction across the blogosphere has been mixed, but I was interested to see that iTWire was willing to say, "Apple has certainly had some boneheads to deal with in its time, but none more so that those who were unable to read the 4G iPad marketing materials, and those in government power deciding they could 'do something about it.'"

iTWire goes on to say that the threatened lawsuit against Apple is "ridiculous."

I think Apple probably figured that if they went to court in Australia, they would lose.

It doesn't seem reasonable to suggest to people they buy a certain product with a certain service that they will not even be able to use. Apple's willingness to change the name in the U.S. is indicative of that - because only a couple carriers here support 4G.

The name change represents a move towards accuracy in marketing. And that is not something I would call "ridiculous."

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Posted by William Lozito at 8:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 16, 2012

iPad 4G or Not 4G, That is the Product Naming Question Apple Faces Today in Australia

AppleiPadAustraliaAd.pngApple's iPad naming is under fire in Australia now.

It is a caveat to the nifty "new iPad" naming we got for the next generation tablet device from Cupertino.

Seems that Apple has been advertising the product in Australia as "iPad with WIFI + 4G" (a far more complex name than most of us would like), but the darn thing can't seem to run on the 1800Mhz 4G that Australians use.

Which means it doesn't really have 4G if you're down-under.

Last month Apple agreed to drop the "4G" from its Australian advertising, offering people simply "Ultrafast Wireless" (see image at right) instead of "Ultrafast 4G LTE." They also offered Australians the option of returning their iPads if they felt duped.

Apple then went on to say that Australia's 4G networks were "misnamed" just when the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) suggested that Apple change the iPad naming in that country entirely.

The ACCC added that simply noting that the 4G version of the iPad was "not compatible with current Australian 4G LTE networks."

Fast forward to yesterday, when it became clear that Apple would not change the name of the device.

As TechCrunch says:

The case has two levels of significance for Apple: on one hand, it's an embarrassing admission of one of its products falling short of what Apple claims it can do. That's bad news for any company, but, as with "antenna-gate" and "heat-gate" these knocks always seem to attract disproportionate attention, partly because Apple has played everything so well up to now with its wireless devices.

To date, mediation has failed and the problem will be passed up to the Federal Court in Melbourne next month.

Additionally, Apple may face more problems in the near future as the 4G on the new iPad will probably not work in the UK or Sweden.

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Posted by William Lozito at 9:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 9, 2012

Is the Apple iPad Tablet Product Name on the Road to Genericism?

iPadImage.pngDo you own an iPad or an iPad tablet or simply a tablet?

For most of us, the important thing is that we own one period. But then again, most of us are not trademark attorneys.

In a recent Associated Press article, business writer Mae Anderson rightly suggests that the Apple iPad tablet runs the very real risk of becoming a genericized brand name and subsequently losing its very valuable trademark.

To avoid becoming a generic brand, a company's Intellectual Property (IP) counsel may offer a set of guidelines similar to these:

Don't use a mark as a noun, Do use the mark as an adjective
    GenericBrandLogos;040912.png
  • It's Kleenex brand tissue, not Kleenex
Don't use the mark as a verb
  • You don't xerox something, rather, you make a copy of it using a Xerox brand photocopier
Don't use the possessive form
  • It's not Nike's new shoe, it's the new shoe from Nike brand
Don't change the form of a mark
  • It's Microsoft Windows 2000 operating system, not Win2000

In other words, marketers should not:

Rollerblade, wear Levi's, drink a Coke or line their lips with Chap Stick.
Instead marketers need to:
Ambulate (to move about) using Rollerblade brand inline skates, wear Levi's jeans, drink a Coca-Cola soft drink and line their lips with the Chap Stick brand lip balm.

To accomplish this, brand managers in partnership with their IP counsel have created more than enough pages of 'brand guidelines' to fill an iPad or an iPad tablet or simply a tablet.

Yet even marketers with the best intentions break their own rules:

  • Google's logo is in constant morph
  • Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO, told us that Bing has the potential 'to verb-up'
  • Vanguard breaks two rules with it's tagline - "Are you investing, or Vanguarding"
  • And every company that uses just the brand name URL breaks the rule as well - Wheaties.com, Tide.com, Viagra.com and Sharpie.com

Since our English language is on a collision course with the path of least resistance (think Twitter and text messaging) and since the internet has created a forum for each and everyone of us to use words and brands in the way that most appeals to us, there are very few linguistic barriers on the road to genercism.

This could be a positive considering some of the iPad associations.

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Posted by Diane Prange at 11:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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