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Gigabyte – lost in product names?
Almost 1,5 years ago, reviewing the Gigabyte GSmart i128 we pointed out a distinctive detail about the company –product names and even the maker’s own brand that were all muddled up in official documents and press-releases.
Here is a short snippet out of that write-up:
“GIGABYTE Communications and especially its marketing department will soon need to fathom out, either via courses or on their own, what the term “Guideline” means. Essentially, it is a document laying down the rules for branding, logo/product name engraving and composing any internal or public documents, including official product pages; for example the Guideline for HTC’s new logo is a detailed 37-page long document.”
Back then we thoroughly reviewed the problems of product naming consistency for Gigabyte-branded communicators:
“The company’s official page offers up to five different ways of spelling “g-Smart”: GSMart, GSmart, g-Smart, g-smart, gSmart (should we take our pick?). This abundance of names is all around the company’s press-releases and product specifications”
One and a half years later, we wouldn’t have drawn your attention back to this issue, hadn’t we skimmed through the announcement of new Gigabyte’s offerings and its plans for 2008. But for starters let’s see how the maker’s attitude towards the Guideline has changed over this time span.
Picking on the way they write the company name makes little sense, although it hasn’t changed much over the recent times: their official documents still feature “Gigabyte” as well as “GIGABYTE” and “GIGA-BYTE”, and they are all over their home page, news items, press-releases and presentations.
The issue with the name of the communicator range (GSmart) has been clarified a bit, yet there are still some unaddressed questions left. Judging by the logo, it should be spelled “Gsmart” (capital G, other letters are small):
However the line-up’s home page, along with some documents, still comprise other variants of this name, with “GSmart” being the most common (first two letters are capitalized).
It is a pity that after all this time the maker hasn’t worked out a consistent style for spelling its own name and the name of a product range. Obviously, you may deem it a mere quibble of ours, but basically that's how things stand right now. Keeping in mind that Gigabyte is already a mature company that has been around for quite a long while, we have all the rights to blame it for being careless in matters like this.
However what really prompted us to write this piece was not Gigabyte idleness in terms of indexing and branding, on the contrary, it was the maker’s excessive activity in a similar issue.
Numbers and letters
A few days ago Gigabyte rolled out its brand-new GSmart MW998, whose name alone can provoke an avalanche of questions. What this index does stand for? Does “998” has any hidden meaning to it, or that’s just a random sequence of digits? Why a company that pulls out of its walls around 5-6 offerings a year would use a double-letter index, while all Nokia- or Samsung-grade companies are perfectly fine putting only one letter in their indexes?
Let’s take a good look at the names of the company’s new offerings and see what is what there.
The Gigabyte GSmart MW998 is going on sale before long, and essentially it is nothing but an entry-level solution along the lines of the Gigabyte GSmart t600. The MW998 packs in no digital TV, so it aims primarily at markets with poor adoption of this service or where it is not available at all, plus its casing is all black, apparently, for reasons of practicality. This offering seems well-suited for Russia, since the preferences guiding this market have made them sway towards black for the shell color. But let’s get back to the communicator’s name.
If you have already started thinking over what this particular combination of letters and numbers could stand for, then don’t really try that hard. The truth is, that’s the chink in the armor of this maker’s new solutions – their names either have no real meaning to them or are very obscure. To be precise, “998” has been summoned out of thin air – it is just some number that doesn’t define any characteristics of functionality of this device. They could have easily named it GSmart MW1078, MW987, MW4488 and enjoy the same result. It has no meaning to it; it is just… well, 998.
Naturally, you might elect not to criticize the maker for this, but we really want to believer they have some governing principles for making up product names. In fact, any user that will see some “MW998” in a shop will readily forget it the next day. What’s worse, the new offerings have no connection to the previous communicators. The i-series has been dumped, so now these are the MS- and MW-series that have come to replace it on the market.
However, we are happy that the company has kept the t-series, which numbers only one model as of today, but is bound to get expanded shortly. The “t” letter here has a clear-cut meaning – it stands for a communicator coming bundled with digital TV functionality.
But let’s get back to the product range. From now on, Gigabyte’s solutions will come with indexes like XX+three-digit number, examples: MW700, MS800, MW998.
The good thing is that these two letters will have some ground behind them, or at least some consistency. For instance, the MW-series comprises 2G solutions (GSM), whereas 3,5G-enabled devices are gathered in the MS line-up.
It is quite unclear, though, why would they need exactly three numbers after the letters; I could venture a guess that, for instance, “700” is used simply because the maker’s range already sports lower-indexed offerings (300, 350, 600). However they are planning on releasing a bunch of devices with even lower indexes, (the GSmart q60, that was announced some time ago, and another ?60 handset), so in light of this fact, the assumption above loses all meaning.
It is quite easy to understand the situation Gigabyte is currently in – given their pretty much modest line-up, they are striving to make their solutions stand out in one way or another, so they give the go-ahead to experiments with design, quirky features, and now allow bending and twisting their indexing system as well. On the face of it, there isn’t much wrong with that, but…
In 2007 Gigabyte rolled out only 2 models (i350, t600), which wasn't much of a downfall compared to 2006 (3-4 offerings released). The good thing is that they have a better roadmap for 2008, but still it is not big enough, revolving around 8-10 devices a year. With this number of releases, their new indexing system appears to be strange for a couple of reasons.
First, given such a limited portfolio, they could have developed a simple and easy-to-remember indexing system. Gigabyte’s edge over, say, HTC, is the number of solutions it launches – to put it simply, they can make every one of them so much more charismatic not only via features or design alone, but also a decent name. I think many will readily agree that something along the lines of “MW800” doesn’t qualify.
Second, the company has several made device groups in its portfolio – as of today there are GPS-enabled solutions, models with digital TV and communicators running Windows Mobile with no bells and whistles. But already now they are moving towards a total confusion in the way their offerings are name, as one series employs the letter+number type of index, the other one – two letters plus number, and on top of that, either of these line-ups can have a solution with a two- or a three-digit index. I suppose you will agree that this indexing system doesn’t make much sense, and even if it does to the maker himself, then it’s good for him, since nobody else apprehend it.
On balance, the company’s portfolio has just disposed of the i-series, still has the t-series and soon will get solutions with MW and MS in their indexes. While the maker may see it as an original way to name its offerings, they can’t really stand up to a multitude of rivals with easier-to-grasp and more eye-candy indexes. See for yourself, what sounds better:
HTC Touch Cruise – Gigabyte GSmart MW700
The current indexing system employed by Gigabyte is coming apart at the seams, lacking consistency or any logic behind it, which is something all other manufacturers have.
What makes it all the more sad, is that the models that are to debut as 3GSM in Barcelona in a couple of days are quite interesting both functionality and potential wise. 2008 will see an array of truly competitive offerings from Gigabyte, but the thing is, the company itself hampers their success.
Nevertheless, there is still some time left before most new models go live – maybe a turnaround is coming?
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