Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/12/16/google_does_dick/

Philip K. Dick's kid howls over Googlephone handle

Do Androids dream of electric sci-fi allusions?

By Cade Metz

Posted in Mobile, 16th December 2009 04:41 GMT

Philip K. Dick's daughter is "shocked and dismayed" that Google has apparently named its fabled cellphone after one of her father's creations without consulting his estate.

Isa Dick Hackett has even gone so far as to discuss the matter with her legal counsel, The New York Times reports.

On Saturday, Google confirmed that it has developed a new phone around the semi-open-source mobile operating system it calls Android, and according to press reports, the company intends to sell the device under the name "Nexus One."

The Philip K. Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? concerns a bounty hunter charged with tracking down a group of escaped robots tagged with the name Nexus-6. These are said to be the sixth generation in a line of, yes, androids, and, well, you get the picture.

"In my mind, there is a very obvious connection to my father’s novel," said Isa Dick Hackett, president of the Dick estate outfit that handles licensing of his work. "We were never consulted, no requests were made, and we didn’t grant any sort of permissions."

Sheep is the basis for the cult film Blade Runner, which also uses the Nexus-6 name.

Though Google has not confirmed the name of its phone - or that it even plans to sell the thing - the "Nexus One" moniker turns up in two government filings. HTC, the Taiwanese outfit manufacturing the phone, used the name in an FCC filing, and on Friday, Google filed an application with the US Patent and Trademark Office to use the "Nexus One" handle with, yes, a cellphone.

It's worth noting that in the wake of Android's debut, Google was sued by a man who claimed to own that name. And last month, when the company introduced its new Go programming language, software architect Frank McCabe pointed out that he already uses that name for his programming language. McCabe does not have a trademark on the Go moniker, but his language is documented in a 2007 book and a 2004 research paper. ®