Microsoft Glumia? What will Nokia phones be called now?

It's highly unlikely that the Nokia phone brand will stay alive after Microsoft's purchase.

The dancing Surface children. Not a great day in Microsoft branding history. Microsoft/YouTube Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Changing your name can give you new life.

Ask Prince, but don't ask Chad Johnson.

It seems, then, that Microsoft might have (yet) an(other) interesting challenge as it turns Nokia's phones into its own.

Even though some might find the wording of Microsoft's purchase of Nokia's device and services division a little fuzzy around the edges, it seems clear that future Lumia phones won't be called Nokia Lumia.

Why would they be? Microsoft hasn't bought the Nokia brand. And, in recent times, the Redmond, Wash.-based company has shown sudden joy in creating its own hardware brands, such as Surface.

Currently, Microsoft's phone brand is called Windows Phone. It's a software brand. It's got very pretty tiles. But it hasn't managed to dig its way into people's consciousness.

Still, in a recent investor presentation, Microsoft talked of "One Brand, United Voice."

"Clarity helps make the market for all Windows Phones," it added. However, calling a brand new sexy piece of hardware "Windows" is like calling your first-born "Cyril."

One option would be simply to replace "Nokia" with "Microsoft." But Redmond has had its most success over the years with brand names that make no mention of "Microsoft," such as Xbox.

Another option would be to extend the Surface brand to phones.

The (Microsoft or not) Surface Lumia sounds like a phone. It also sounds like a phone that was derived from an innovatively designed tablet-PC-whatever that was launched with leaping youths and ended with sinking discounts .

On a conference call Tuesday, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer admitted that phone names was a difficulty.

As Engadget reports, he said: "We can probably do better for a consumer name than the 'Nokia Lumia Windows Phone 1020,' and yet, because of where both companies are, and the independent nature of the businesses, we haven't been able to shorten that name."

Where both companies are is not an entirely pretty place. Bringing those companies together is hard enough.

But then having to create a new brand to catch up to such established competitors as Apple, Google, and Samsung is asking for the ultimate nightmare: a thousand consultants each sitting there offering names like "Apraxa," "Starranza," and "Zoom."

Perhaps one slight ray of hope lies in the notion -- beloved by Samsung -- that we'll all soon be waving at our phones rather than touching them.

I'd be interested in a Kinect Phone. Wouldn't you?

 

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