Does brand heritage matter in consumer electronics?

Motorola announced a new RAZR on Tuesday. Does brand heritage exist in the fleeting world of consumer electronics?

We've seen cracks in the robust enterprise armor of Research in Motion last week after an outage took out the company's legs before a global audience.

We've seen Hewlett-Packard step away from its most well-known product, the consumer laptop, as it courts the enterprise.

And today we see Motorola resurrect its most popular modern brand, RAZR, for a new Google Android smartphone on Verizon Wireless.

In the fleeting world of technology, does heritage matter?

Motorola thinks so. I'll let my colleagues at CNET offer the full specifications rundown (4.3 in. display and a 7.1 mm profile among them) but I find it interesting that, after years of dabbling in Android and creating new brands (Xoom, various Droid models for which Verizon licenses the name, Motoblur), the company is coming full-circle.

Which makes me wonder, really: does heritage (on either the company or product levels) matter to you when making a purchase? Does it matter for the products you buy for your home? Does it matter for the products you buy for the office? (Does the product itself hold up to its reputation? If not, how quickly does reputation fade?)

In a world where multiple companies have a hand in building a product -- the chipmakers, the middleware providers, the overseas manufacturers, the in-house designers, all of whom could change model-to-model -- it's a wonder that heritage exists at all.

Consumer electronics: the Guns 'N' Roses of gadgets.

To me, RAZR is strongly identified with the flip form factor. It always meant thin, of course, but that's the association I have. Will the new one be eclipsed by the original's iconic reputation?

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