Santa, if youre reading this, please use your intense occult powers to do me a favor this festive season: stop companies naming their products incomprehensibly. Please? Ill leave you some weed-laced cookies? Just make sure I get gadgets with regular names.
This trend of ridiculously named hardware irritated me before, but hit fever pitch recently when I was trying to buy a wake-up light. This is, as it sounds, a light that wakes you up. Effectively, they simulate the sun rising, meaning you surface from your slumber in a way that feels natural.
After a bit of research, it seemed that the best brand to go for was Philips. So, I browsed the companys website. And what was I confronted with? A series of wake-up lights with the dumbest possible names, Im talking shit like HF3520/01, HF3510/01, HF3505/01, HF3500/01, and HF3531/01.
And, believe me, that list continues especially if youre on something like Amazon. Its nauseating.
The thing is I just dont understand why companies do this. There are times when it seems like the whole tech world copies Apple (you know, like removing headphone jacks from phones), but at other moments the company appears to be out there by itself (like these naming conventions). Lets zoom in on this latter part.
Apple isnt the only company selling gadgets with regular names, but it is one of the best at it. Lets just consider the latest iPhone line up. There are four models: the iPhone 12 mini, the iPhone 12, the iPhone 12 Pro, and the iPhone 12 Pro Max.
It might take you a couple of reads to get your head around, but theres a clear logic at work here, something that makes sense on a fundamental level. You can guess that pro probably means its good, max suggests that its bigger, and mini means it small. These are gadgets with regular names and I love it.
Compare that to another massive company which has the opposite approach and fully embraces awful naming conventions: Sony. Lets consider their headphones.
Can you tell me anything about what separates the WH-1000XM4, the WH-HN910N, WH-XB700, or the WH-CH710N? Hell, Im paid to write about gadgets and I can only tell you about one of those models because its one of the best pair of headphones on the market.
This whole approach is utterly bizarre.
Lets ignore the irritation element, and just look at the business side. If youre a company that makes gadgets, you want to do one thing: sell more of them. And one of the ways you do this is by building a brand, creating something thats recognizable and that people can tell each other about. Thats why its called a Big Mac rather than a BM-221GC.
Surely, surely, giving a product a name thats just a collection of numbers and letters harms its ability to build a recognized brand and sell more? I cant imagine a world where this isnt the case.
So, Santa, can you let all these CMOs know Im not happy? Tell those chumps to give me gadgets with regular names. Or else.
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Published December 22, 2020 — 07:00 UTC

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