Sci fi is sexy, and savvy gadget marketers know that using a name referencing science fiction classics will give it mileage that it might not otherwise get. Only Google may have mis-stepped by using a Blade Runner reference without securing permissions, and the phone went on sale yesterday.
"Nexus One" is an apparent reference to the cyborgs in the late Philip K. Dick novel "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" which was adapted for the big screen as Blade Runner. The New York Times reports the device is called "Nexus One" in at least two government filings. The NYT report indicates the name "Nexus One" was used in documents Google filed with the FTC, and in an US Patent and Trademark Office application.
In an interview on Tuesday, Dick's daughter, Isa Dick Hackett, says "We were never consulted, no requests were made, and we didn't grant any sort of permissions." Hackett also stated that while she was discussing the situation with legal counsel, pointed out that her father was a fan of technology, and that It's certainly something we would have been happy to discuss and interested in exploring. They only needed to reach out."
Other companies have made the effort to obtain permissions. Verizon Wireless licensed the "Droid" name from Star Wars creator George Lucas for use with their Motorola phone.