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What’s with the HTC Titan II: Does it really deserve its name?

What’s with the HTC Titan II: Does it really deserve its name?

See, if you have a phone called Titan, and, a few months later, introduce another one called Titan II, people are going to assume the Titan II to be the successor to the original Titan. Makes sense, right? And that’s indeed what people were doing. The problem: the original HTC Titan was announced in Septemeber 2011, only four months before its supposed successor. Now, the introduction of the HTC Titan II, perdictably, pissed off those people who have bought the original Titan, since their phone has been obsoleted so fast.

Wait a bit. Really obsoleted? Is the HTC Titan II really a successor to the HTC Titan?

Let’s look at the specs: Both Titan and Titan II feature a 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon single-core processor and 512MB RAM, pretty standard Windows Phone requirements. Both have the same display, with the same resolution and screen size. Both run Windows Phone 7.5 Mango, though the Titan II comes with the new 8107 update out of the box – of course, the original Titan will get this one as well, in due time.

So far, so good, as for the similarities. What about the differences? The build and materials differ – while the original Titan was made from a block of aluminum, the Titan II is all soft-touch plastic. The original Titan packed an 8 megapixel camera, while the Titan II doubles that at 16 megapixels. Finally, of course, the Titan II includes a 4G LTE radio and will be sold exclusively by AT&T in the United States, whereas the Titan only has a standard 3G radio and is sold all over the world in various carrier-branded and unlocked versions.

Do you think that – a slightly changed design, a better (at least in terms of megapixels) camera, and an LTE radio – makes a real successor?

Well, no. It’s basically an AT&T version of the Titan, and should be called HTC Titan LTE. The Titan II deserves its name in no way, not from a technical perspective, as I’ve laid out above, but much less from a marketing perspective. People will be angry, disappointed or whatever combination thereof to find their shiny new gadget outdated so fast, or at least get the impression it’s outdated (and, honestly, what average consumer wouldn’t get that impression with this naming scheme?). Some will be just confused.

However, the biggest problem is: once reviews trickle in, and those reviewers find out that the Titan II is nothing more than a slightly pimped LTE version of the original Titan, it will damage the brand. In this case, HTC. Releasing a whole lot of undifferentiated models is one thing (and still a problem made only worse through the Titan II), but this kind of misleading naming is another. If HTC wants to consolidate their phone lines in the future, by releasing real successors with incrementing numbers at the end – i.e. HD, HD2 or similar to Samsung’s Galaxy S, Galaxy S II etc. – there will always be someone, from now on, who is going to doubt whether it’s just a slightly modified version instead of a real successor. It may not be a neck-breaking mistake, but definitely doesn’t do HTC any good.

HTC just released a successor that isn’t really a successor. Or HTC gave an LTE version of another existing device such a confusing name that people will misunderstand it to be its successor. Or HTC doesn’t know Roman numbers and thought II simply looked cool.

In any way, HTC is far away from quiet brilliance.

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