Droid Or Android? The Most Confusing/Successful Marketing Campaign Ever


This has puzzled me for years on end. The majority of smartphone users, no matter what brand they use, don't know the difference between a "Droid" and an "Android" phone. Most of you have no clue, and may just now realize there is a difference.

Motorola coined the term "Droid" for the first true competitor to Apple's iPhone. The first generation Droid smartphone ran the "Android" operating system. It was a clunky, heavy, clumsy smartphone with a slideout keyboard. It launched in October of 2009.

The big pitch for the Motorola Droid smartphone was "whatever iPhone doesn't, Droid does". It was a brilliant marketing campaign. So successful, that the masses automatically assumed that all Android devices were "Droid" phones.

The big red robotic eye, the robot arm tapping on a smartphone screen on commecials, and the Star Wars sounding Droid voice made a huge splash and an almost permanent impression with people. But few people realized that these trademarks were only associated with the Motorola device running on the Verizon network.

The Motorola Droid smartphone was followed up with Droid 2, Droid X2, Droid 3, Droid Bionic, Droid RAZR, Droid RAZR 2, and Droid 4. The Droid 4 still sports the slideout keyboard while the Droid RAZR models have gone to 100% touchscreen operation.

Today, the Droid marketing campaign has seemingly lost its steam. Previously, it was in our faces almost constantly. You couldn't turn on the television without hearing the Droid robot sound. Now that the damage is done, it is quite possibly irreversible. The masses of people now associate the trademark "Droid" with any Android device.

That sort of marks the overwhelming success of the marketing campaign. But it also exposes a huge flaw in the outcome. Any advertising for the "Droid" brand is basically free advertising for the balance of Android-powered smartphones by other manufacturers and carriers.

Looking back, I think it was a huge mistake on behalf of Motorola to coin a brand name so close to the name of the operating system created by Google. It's ironic that Google is now in the process of buying out Motorola.

Instead of using a term so closely releated to the general brand name for the operating system, they should have given their flagship smartphones a brand name that would set it apart from all others. Sadly, the term "Droid" does not allow it to be distinguished as unique by the average consumer.

The longer Motorola rolls with the Droid marketing campaign, they'll be doing free marketing for the likes of Samsung, HTC, LG, and every other manufacturer that makes handsets running on the Android platform. People think they are one in the same.

It's too bad that Google didn't jump on the whole robot theme in the manner that Motorola did. Sure, they use the little green robot character, but it's not nearly as strong as the marketing scheme created by the makers of the Droid line.

It cracks me up when owners of Apple iPhones ask me if I like my "Droid" device. They look confused when I tell them I don't own one.

"I have a Samsung Galaxy S2 running on the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system", is what I tell them. This only leaves them more confused and scratching their heads.

Did you have any idea that there was a difference between a "Droid" and an "Android" device? Or are you a savvy geek who knew the difference? And if you do know the difference, what percentage of people do you think still remain clueless to this brand confusion?

Do you think Motorola made a mistake in creating a brand name so close to the brand of the operating system? Or do you think they should have created a unique, distinguishable name?

Share your thoughts in the comments section!

Carlton Flowers
Non-Droid Smartphone Owner