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Sure, brand names are a matter of taste and marketing. Who really liked the names "iPod" and "Wii" when they were revealed? It appears that [Hewlett-Packard's (NYSE: HPQ ) ] name for its upcoming WebOS slate may fit right into a row of names that may raise some doubt: It appears that the name will be PalmPad, which isn't quite the creative match for a product that comes out of $1.2 billion acquisition and carries the hopes of HP's being able to compete with Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL ) iPad.
HP has registered PalmPad as a new brand for "computers, computer hardware, computer software, computer peripherals, portable computers, handheld and mobile computers, PDAs, electronic notepads, mobile digital electronic devices." While there is no guarantee that the company will use the name for its upcoming slate PC as well as a number of other devices, there is a strong indication that HP's version of the iPad may be called PalmPad. (We will forget for a moment the speculation that Intel's trademark of "VIIV" a few years ago was considered to be the new name for the company's processor following the "Pentium" where VI was believed to signify the number "6.")
While "pad" makes sense, is that really all HP could come up with? Is it just me, or does this brand label the HP slate an iPad copycat right from the start? Shouldn't it be unique to HP to create a foundation for a product family that can be tied to HP only? Like the original "Palm Pilot" provided the foundation for Palm?
Maybe I am too critical here. At least "Palm" is in the name, and we know that HP has intentions to build onto the Palm brand. So, is the PalmPhone next? A trademark search reveals that HP has not registered for this name, and the brand, in fact, has been abandoned since 2001 and was previously owned by Altec Lansing, which described the product tied to the device as a "telephone with interface to hand-held and other computers; caller identification device speaker telephone; answering machine; voice annotation device; hot sync cradle for hand-held computers; voice control device for hand-held computers; voice controlled data entry device for hand-held computers; audio recorder; audio input device for computers microphone and related software for computer audio uses; audio conferencing device; hardware and software for creating audio records and uploading and downloading audio records to and from web pages and wide area computer network sites; computer software for acquiring, capturing, creating, playing, converting, transferring, presenting and storing audio recordings and instruction manuals sold as a unit therewith."
It will be interesting to see how this works out for HP and Palm.
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