Marketing people have a difficult job when it comes to naming their company’s products and services. They need to make sure that the branding they’ve thought up doesn’t mean something offensive in a different language. Take for example Apple’s recent launch of the translates to “ass” in Japanese. Likewise Gerber, the famous baby food brand in the United States, translates to “vomiting” in French. And in the Nordics Honda had to rename the Honda Fitta to the Honda Jazz, because Fitta is Swedish and Norwegian slang for vagina. This is why handset makers like Nokia typically issue product names that are nothing more than a seemingly random string of digits. Two recent devices that Nokia have announced, the Lumia 710 and the Lumia 800, obviously have the prefix “Lumia” attached. In Finnish it means “snow”, but in Spanish it unfortunately means “prostitute” according to MSNBC.. The highlight feature, Siri,
Will this folly translate into fewer sales? Of course not, but it does mean that Nokia desperately needs to rejigger their ads and retail packaging when they introduce the Lumia in Spain. Oddly enough, Spain is one of the initial launch countries for Nokia’s first Windows Phones; the other countries being UK, France, Germany, and the Netherlands. This likely means Nokia failed to notice the mistake, so expect to see a lot of smiles in Spanish phone shops as people start cracking jokes about Finnish prostitues, how much the Lumia 800 will cost to use per hour, and how often one should take their Lumia 800 in for service to get tested for … bugs.
Naming aside, what do you guys think of the Lumia 800? Is it attractive enough that you’ll consider switching from your current smartphone to a totally new platform? This author is going to hold out until Windows Phone 8, codenamed Apollo, ships in late 2012.
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