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Google Rips Off Young Crafty Entrepreneur: Android Beanie

Photo by Cassandra Holly

A lot of people have asked me to comment on a little controversy that’s going on in the Android community. (sure Scotty I’ll donate the ad rips from this piece to Rachel). There are many people who are familiar with the original “Android Beanie”.

The Android Beanie is a soft, cute hat that was created in 2010 just before the Android Barbecue. Rachel Ying came up with the idea and it took off. The Ying family, including their baby daughter got into their car and drove from Florida to Austin so that Rachel could continue creating Android Beanies along the route.

More after the break

People like Scott Good, Scotty Brown and Russell Holly have supported Android Beanie time and time again and have a vast collection of Android Beanies for every occasion. Many people who know me from trade shows and launch events know that the Android Beanie has become the trademark hat of thedroidguy.

Rachel Ying’s original Android Beanie has been around the country and around the world on my head. We were even captured in MacWorld and 9to5Mac on an article that got picked up worldwide last May.

Keivan Askari an Austin based Android fan said:
“I love the craftmanship and am glad to give my money to a hand made craft made by a member of the Android Community”

The Android Beanie has become such a staple when Thedroidguy goes out that it’s what makes folks like Dan Hesse, Ralph De La Vega and Jon Stratton say “Hey Droid Guy” when they see my head. This is all thanks to the hard work of the Ying family.

Now the Ying’s were doing this for fun and a little extra money, they never meant to get rich or build an empire. They teamed with fellow Android entrepreneur Aaron Kasten and Android Swag to sell Beanies in allotments of 25 and 50.

Google has now decided to do their own beanie. It’s not like they didn’t know that the Android Beanie existed. Kasten actually gave away beanies to key Google personnel on a trip to Google last November.  Android Beanies had a very prominent presence at Google IO 2011 as well.

Currently the Google Android Beanie is only available for kids sizes. The original Android Beanie is available at androidswag.com in a variety of sizes and colors.

If you’ve seen some of Google’s patent battles they can go into the billions of dollars and of course this young family in Florida doesn’t have the resources to keep up with anything like that. Google could have made an arrangement, like Androidswag.com to carry the original beanies, instead they chose to just rip them off.

8 Comments

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  1. They don’t make much money off of Android directly. Android needs revenue streams, and if people are willing to buy merchandise, they will merchandise the crap out of it. 

  2. Seems like fair competition, though, unnecessary. I don’t know why google would want to make their own beanies as it seems like small potatoes compared to the rest of Google’s ventures. Consequently it makes google look a bit unkind. It also makes google look like they don’t know how to make a good-looking beanie. I mean, really, I’d take an original AndroidBeanie over Google’s any day!

  3. I wouldn’t say this is ripping off the idea at all. Android is about “open” and open means open competition. So Google saw an opportunity, the Ying’s have all the right in the world to try and do a better job. 

  4. They aren’t sueing them or trying to remove their past profits, it’s called competition. It’s allowed and it’s fair.

  5. Not sure how Google is ripping them off considering the Ying family were selling a hat based off of a Google owned trademark.

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