One is the Loneliest Number Except for Consumer Electronics
July 20, 2013

One Is The Loneliest Number (Except For Consumer Electronics)

There is something to being number one. General Motors and Toyota continue to compete to be the number one auto maker in the world, and being number one in sports is truly a big deal.

However, the situation becomes so much murkier and just downright confusing when consumer electronics companies use the number “one” in products. Perhaps it is an attempt to sound like whatever the product is that it is truly the best. The rest of the time it is simply confusing.

Last year, Taiwanese mobile phone maker HTC (High Tech Computer Corporation) introduced the HTC One, an Android-powered smartphone. But that’s not to be confused with the Google Nexus One, which was made by HTC and released in 2010. And neither of these devices should be confused with the T-Mobile G1 made by HTC.

That latter device was also known as the HTC Dream and was released back in 2008. Along the way, HTC has also offered up the HTC One X, One XL, One S and One V and finally just the plain old HTC One. Will the real HTC One please stand up?

HTC is not the only company to see the merits of the “one” moniker. Microsoft will roll out the third generation of its Xbox gaming platform this number and it is being released as the Xbox One. Gamers likely won’t be confused, even if the original system was simply known as the Microsoft Xbox and the follow-up was the Xbox 360.

For the record, IBM went down that road and introduced a System/360 mainframe computer back in 1964. This was meant to evoke the “whole world approach” as in a compete circle being 360 degrees. IBM followed this up with the 720, basically as way to double down on the concept.

Now, it was rumored that Microsoft might call the next Xbox the 720 as well, but clearly someone in Redmond did some digging and opted not to let history repeat itself.

So, what is with the One? In the case of the HTC the company has followed up with the HTC One Mini, which slims down the device just a bit. Whether it is truly a “mini” version is for the user to decide. It offers a smaller screen, a smaller processor and less memory. Who this “One” is for isn’t so clear. Who needs a less powerful device?

As for Microsoft, it could be argued that the company has painted itself into a corner of sorts. With this being the Xbox One where they can go from here? Sony is up to the PlayStation 4, so this does cloud the issue a bit. Surely Microsoft can’t call the next system the Xbox Two; but that is likely six or more years away at this point. Sony called its original system the PlayStation, but when the PlayStation 2 came out did rebrand the original PlayStation in a new package as the PlayStation One, but as an after fact!

Samsung and Apple, for the record, never really went down the “One” road. The popular Galaxy smartphone line from Samsung started with the just plain old “Galaxy” and is now up to Galaxy III, while Apple has followed a similar path, but did dub the third generation of its iPad, not as the iPad III, but simply as the iPad.

What is in a name if not to confuse consumers?

All this should be considered while listening to the California-based (but sounded very British) punk rock band The Avengers, whose definitive hit is fittingly “We are the One.”

Image Credit: HTC

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Peter Suciu is a freelance writer and has covered consumer electronics, technology, electronic entertainment and the fitness sports industry for more than 15 years. In that time his work has appeared in more than three dozen publications including Newsweek, PC Magazine and Wired. His work has also appeared on,,, and Peter is a regular writer for

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