Earlier this year I posted an article about how phone manufacturers were losing their brand power by producing too many different phone models. Looks like the situation is only getting worse. I compared the iPhone with multiple phone makers that were building Android-based smart-phones to show the contrast between how one single brand is stronger than many. It seems like the companies are still not getting it.
There was one name that could have become a strong brand and make a huge competitor to iPhone - Droid. But before it could get to that point, phone makers let it roll down the hill and by now pretty much killed it.
To start with, they made a critical mistake at the very beginning - they had two companies (HTC and Motorola) produce phones under that same brand name. How do you explain that to a customer? iPhone is made by Apple but Droid is made by HTC and Motorola. How do you convince a customer that makes sense?
Then they diluted an already shaken brand even more by extending it with submodels like Droid Eris, Droid Global, Droid Incredible, etc. All the money invested by manufacturers, Google and carriers into advertising and building the brand equity of the Droid name were wasted. It's really up to their marketing executives now whether they want to stick to the same strategy or finally make a change.
One company that has recently understood that is Samsung (my guess it came from consulting by Interbrand). Their Galaxy S smartphone is turning into a powerful brand as they recenetly launched Galaxy S II and sold 5 million handset in 85 days. Someone in the company finally realized that you just can't throw away cash by building tens of models, marketing each of them, confusing the customer, dealing with inventory, etc.
Hopefully, the rest of the pack will get on the right track soon. Otherwise none of them will have a chance of becoming any kind of authority in this highly competitive market.