The following is certain. Verizon will launch a version of Samsung’s Galaxy S II in Q4. The device will run on Verizon’s 4G LTE network. It will sport the DROID branding.
What remains a mystery at this point is the device’s final name when it hits Verizon stores. I’ve lost track of the all the rumored names, but they contain about every combination possible using the words Droid, Galaxy, Nexus and Prime.
Others have already speculated this, but I would like to echo that I do not believe this Droid device (the one that will be sold in Verizon stores) is also going to be a Nexus device. Most likely it will ship with Android 2.3.x and include Samsung’s latest TouchWiz UI.
Having said that, this doesn’t mean Verizon will not support the next Nexus phone. I still believe Google wants to see their device on all the big carriers and they will do whatever it takes to make a deal with Verizon. My gut says Best Buy will once again be the retail partner to launch the next Nexus.
For all we know, Verizon might have already picked some other crazy name like Droid Blade (or Cube or Gladiator). But if I were the product manager, I’d seriously consider locking up the rumored “Droid Prime” name to take advantage of all the internet buzz that has been building.
If that sounds like a crazy idea, a similar situation almost occurred last year. This site and several other Android blogs were responsible for hyping up the name Droid Terminator to refer to Motorola’s first series of Tegra 2 phones. We had no knowledge of the Terminator name and it came from a reader comment after seeing us refer to the device as “T2″ (short for Tegra 2).
A reliable source told me AT&T was in talks to license the Terminator branding from its creator James Cameron, similar to the deal that Verizon made with Lucas Films for using Droid. The idea was that AT&T would launch a scary robot name to go head-to-head with Verizon’s wildly successful DROID program.
For unknown reasons, the deal fell apart and AT&T ended up calling their first Tegra 2 phone the Motorola Atrix.
It often amuses me when so much focus is placed on smartphone names after all the ridiculous ones we’ve seen over the years. Some might say these names are meaningless, but I would argue that it can seriously alter a device’s chance of success.
I’m sure Samsung was kicking and fighting to get their Galaxy S II brand on this upcoming big launch, but Verizon doesn’t play that game. In the US the carriers call the shots, and Verizon knows their DROID brand adds a little swagger to the launch.
Whatever happens, we should all know in less than a month. The fall CTIA show in San Diego starts on October 11, and that would be the prime time to make an announcement.
If you were the Verizon product manager, which name would you pick? My money is on Droid Prime.