A shift in Android’s image: is Galaxy the new Droid? [POLL]


There’s been a lot of talk these past few days that normals — you know, soccer mom’s and Joe Schmo’s — are now equating Android with Samsung’s Galaxy branding. This after the term “Galaxy” almost trumped “Android” in web search interest for the month of December, 2012. Shocking, I know. But does this really mean Galaxy has now become synonymous with Android? If so, could this be bad for Google’s business?

You may remember when the Motorola Droid was first released. It was the first Android phone available exclusively for Verizon Wireless and it had a marketing budget to take the Apple iPhone head-on. An onslaught of print and television ads quickly followed its release with the slogan “Droid Does” still embedded into consumer’s minds. While this seemed great for those rooting for Android’s mobile OS dominance, it quickly became an annoyance for fanboys. From that point on, it seemed like everyone was asking, “Is that one of those new ‘Droid’ phones?” No matter if it was a Motorola device or not. Android had officially became known as Droid. Today, things look much different. You’ll notice that the search term “Droid” has almost completely fallen off the graph with a web search percentage so low, it’s barely noticeable. Why the change?

Well, a new report from Localytics is now showing that the the top 10 Android devices by users is dominated largely by Samsung and their Galaxy lineup: Galaxy S3, Galaxy S2, Galaxy Ace, Galaxy Note, Galaxy Note 2, and Galaxy Y. Brand recognition is a very powerful thing among consumers. Is it really much of a stretch to think that, like the Droid back in its heyday, consumers are now associating Android (the mobile OS) with Galaxy? I don’t think they are. They could simply be associating Galaxy with Samsung’s smartphone brand. Like the iPhone is to Apple.

While I fail to see how this could be bad business for Google and Android (did the Droid branding really hurt Google in the end?), the Android OS was created with the flexibility and for the sole purpose of manufacturers to skin it, brand it, and make it their own. Unless Samsung gets so cocky they completely abandon Android and the Google Play Store in the process, Google shouldn’t be too worried what consumers call it, just so long as they don’t call it an iPhone.

I’m sure one day we’ll have a Nexus device so popular, your mom and friends will all ask, “Is that one of those Nexus phones?” In which case we’ll finally be able to turn to them and reply, “Why, yes. Yes it is.” Here’s to hoping the rumored Motorola X Phone is just such a device.

So, I’m curious. Now, that we’ve taken a good look at all these charts and graphs, is what they’re hinting at really true? Has anyone ever asked you if your non-Samsung Android phone was a “Galaxy?” Oh, and it doesn’t count if your phone is, in fact, a branded Galaxy device.

[polldaddy poll=6886281]

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. I think the good news that we can take from this is that the annoying claim by apple fanboys that Android is only popular because it sells a buttload of “cheap phones” is patently false by virtue of the fact that the S2 and S3 and Notes are way up there.

  2. I’ve only owned Galaxy devices, and not once as someone asked me if it were the Galaxy anything.

  3. Since my phone is a Gnex, it’s technically a “Galaxy” phone, I guess. But I’ve never had anyone ever come up to me ask if my phone is a “Galaxy”.
    On another note, anyone find it incredibly annoying that whoever made the first graph put the legend/key RIGHT OVER WHERE THE RELEVANT DATA IS? That person should be shot.

    1. The relevant info was the numbers showing the percentage of actual web searches, without it, you can’t see actual numbers, just a graph. But I’ll add some additional text and show only the graph if that makes more sense.

      1. This bothered me too! Chris, I think relevant info is hidden – that is the comparison of the trends – the lines in the bottom-right, under the text box. Is it possible to reposition the text box, or is it always in the same location?

      2. If the numbers alone were the relevant info, then why even provide the graph at all? The point of a graph of this nature is to provide a history of comparison of a certain set of things, but if you cover up well over half the data, then what’s the point? You never see charts of this nature with the key covering the data in business meetings do you?
        Just move the legend/key to a different location, such as the upper left part of the image (directly above the tiny bar graph labeled “Average”), or in the negative space above Samsung’s blue line between the years 2005 and 2007 where there is NO data. C’mon. This is like, the first thing you learn when working with Excel…

  4. they still think it’s a droid -_-!

  5. My wife and I both have Galaxy Note 2’s. Love them. Great Screen, battery life, speed plus Jelly Bean OS. I recommend them highly. I have people now and then that want to check them out. iPhone users look sad after giving me back my phone and always say “I want a phone to be able to fit in my pocket”. Then I show them it slides right in my pants pocket with no problem. Then they go away even sadder. Because they can’t find a down side to the phone.

    1. That’s always the best. People immediately assume the phone is too big to fit into their pockets but it’s easily pocketable. 1-hand usage, now there’s a good argument.

      1. Unless you’ve got some big meat hooks. Although, Note II is pretty huge. (SGS3 user here)

        1. Yup. Owned it for about a month and then went back to my S3. Thought I was man enough for 5.5-inches… apparently I’m not :c

          1. That’s what she said

          2. I don’t think I want a woman saying she isn’t “man” enough. Just saying…

          3. Normally I would respond to this w/ something really pervy, but for once I’m speechless. ;)

          4. that’s what she said too.

          5. The Note 2 ruined me for every other phone. The rumors that Sammy is thinking about going bigger is a little alarming though. I hope they dont ruin a good thing.

        2. This dude came into my work and I thought he was using an S3 until I considered the fact he was about 6’9″ and could palm a bowling ball.

      2. Prove people wrong even more when they see a Nexus 7 sliding right into my pocket. =.P

          1. easy.. no skinny jeans! :p

        1. I actually keep my Nexus 7 in my pocket as well. Why any guy would want to wear skinny jeans is beyond me.

          1. How about an onion on your belt?

          2. Only if it is the style at the time

          3. Why any person, at all, would wear skinny jeans is beyond me. It blows my mind that people put “looks” above comfort and (actual) looks.

          4. Anyone that wears skinny jeans should have their man card revoked.

        2. I’m right there with you. I don’t wear skin tight jeans though and it fits nicely (even if its a bit snug).

        3. i wouldn’t want to be at work with my n7 in my pocket but when at school its just fine.

      3. There’s no such thing as proper single handed use though due to the varying gestures. Constantly find myself still needing two hands since I realised the issue after arguing the point that I like <4.5" screens.

      4. Actually, using my Note 2 with one hand right now. No one seems to realize the handy setting Samsung included, simply called “one hand operation” where you can adjust the interface settings.

    2. My Aunt and Uncle were die hard Apple folks. Both had a 3G. Both had a 4. I tried to show them my One X and they said “oh we don’t want to learn something new”. They ended up getting Note 2s and absolutely love them.

    3. Know what’s funny about that argument. I can fit my Nexus 7 in my pocket -_-‘

    4. Just a few minutes ago I set a 4s on my Note 2, the screen itself is bigger than the entire iPhone haha. My friend said oh my god its huge, then I replied that’s what she said.

  6. It probably is. Which is good, Google wanted to give every OEM the same chance. Samsung invested the most into it so they are now raking in their investment. Well deserved

  7. Everyone instantly knows what my phone is. I used to enjoy randomly telling them about it. “no this is a rezound, not a droid.”

  8. every non-techie i know still has no idea what an android phone is – they know them as droid phones. except for my grandmother. she calls every non-flip-phone an iPhone. even my uncle’s mostly-touch feature-phone slider. >_<

  9. Galaxy is a terrible brand name

    1. compared to what?

        1. Samsung Universe 3. It’s the 3rd Universe to come out. Try telling this to astronomers LoL!!

    2. Galaxy sounds cool.

  10. Gosh, I hate those irrelevant people. Everyday I take a train back home, with the crowd of these Shmo’s.

  11. I’ve been getting more “Galaxy” questions as of late from elders and non-techies, funny that this article just popped up. Galaxy is becoming pretty ubiquitous in the Android game.

  12. Droid was great for Verizon but became a problem for Motorola, as Verizon then leveraged the brand to non-motorola devices.

  13. I get asked ALL THE EFFING TIME if my One X is “that Galaxy phone”.

    1. then you feel sad wishing it was.

      1. Not at all.

      2. Lol ^THIS^

  14. I get asked if my One X is a galaxy just as often as people call my Transformer Prime an iPad. It really pisses me off… Go educuate yourself, really..

    1. I was on the bus with my Nexus 7 and didn’t have a case on it. So you can CLEARLY see the back. This dude asked me where I got my iPad Mini from. I said I wouldn’t waste my money on an iPad mini when I can get a device that’s cheaper and better. I told him it was a Nexus 7. Apparently this person never heard of the Nexus 7. And so my explanation began. I love converting lost children from the evil.

      1. Thank you for saving one fo the fallen.

  15. Hat’s off to Samsung. I LOVE my Droid DNA, but HTC’s marketing department should all be fired and the new dept should study what Samsung did. By always using the “galaxy” name on all of their devices they created “brand awareness”. I’m not even a marketing guy and I know this. If you want to sell tech products to largely non-tech people you have to create brand awareness with a name that’s easy to remember. HTC has vastly different names for almost every device which makes it difficult for anyone that isn’t technical to have any clue what it is. Shame, because the products themselves DNA, One-X, etc are all top notch but very few people know it. Nice job Samsung….

    1. I agree. The only name htc has stuck with is the Evo series on sprint.

  16. It’s great that Galaxy has become so big because I use to hate it when people asked me was my HTC a Droid.

    1. Please. Mofos still think my Epic4G Touch is a “Droid”. I tell them Droid is the type of phone. Some people learn, the other mofos say “What’s the difference?” And that’s when I turn on my douche mode.

  17. This iPhoner had the nerve to tell me my phone was a “droid”. She was all like it’s called Droid and felt that she was right. The nerve of her. I told her it’s an Android. She said “What does the phone say when it’s starting up? Yea I win.” Oh yea. A mofo was mad. I just let her be ignorant.

    1. I hate talking to iPhone users some of them just honestly don’t speak tech and because of their lack of knowledge are downright insulting in conversation over mobile hardware.

    2. Yeah, there’s a few people at my office that think that all Android devices are Droids….

  18. People i interact with either think my gnex is a droid or an android. If they say droid, i clarify for them. That’s about it. idk why people get worked up that others think their samsung is a droid lol

  19. “Droid” never meant anything other than a Verizon phone. Verizon licensed it from Lucas, not Google.

    1. Uh, yeah we know.

      1. Chris obviously doesn’t. “Droid” and “Galaxy” are apples and oranges. One is a carrier’s branding, the other a manufacturer’s.

        1. doesn’t change the fact that the majority of people until recently considered android phones “droids” due to verizons ad campaigns

          1. Majority? I doubt that.

          2. maybe not majority but still a lot

        2. Actually, the point was that all Android phone’s were know as “Droids” at one point thanks to Verizon’s ad blitz.

          Now — according to recent press — Android is now being called “Galaxy.” I disagree and was trying to prove this point with my poll.

          1. maybe in the US but i can say i have never heard any one say my phone ever was a droid(im from uk)

          2. That’s because vzw is not in the UK but here in the US. Vzw’s Droid ad campaign in 2009 and early 2010 was huge. Motorola released the same device in Europe but without the Droid branding…Heck it got me to look into the OG Droid which I eventually upgraded to…

        3. what are you babbling about?

  20. Droid became the Kleenex of Android devices, and will remain as such for along time. What really bugged me as a Droid owner was that named a device Droid, then proceeded to name other devices Droid this and Droid that, making it almost impossible to perform an Internet search for things specifically related to the original Droid. Several terms evolved to mitigate the issue, like OG Droid, or Droid 1, but the damage was already done.

  21. When people ask what kind of phone I have, I say Galaxy Nexus but all they hear is “Galaxy SIII.”

  22. I have been noticing this trend for a while now. There is no doubt that Samsung is the top dog, and will probably remain at the top in 2013. Now, I still get folks who say “droid” when referring to other phones. But every now and then someone asks me if that is a “Galaxy” or a “Samsung.” On campus it seems like the most popular android device is the S3 or Note.

  23. Current have an Epic 4G Touch for Sprint.
    Hopefully upgrading to the Note 3 when it comes out :)

    And everyone asks me if it’s a “Droid” -_-;
    Well, all the iSheep, that is.

  24. my co workers always referred my phones as “the Galaxy” even when I only say S II or Note II. they have called my Nexus 7 a Galaxy 7 too lol.

  25. Everyone is always talking about galaxy now in my college instead of droid when I hear them talk about android phones. I definitely think things have changed

  26. While I had an iphone, I was asked if it is a galaxy xD


    1. I have the Droid ring tone for incoming G-Voice text messages on my vzw G-Nexus…..

  28. wow i wonder how many usernames that psycho drug addict mentally ill criminal hacker chris maietti has?

  29. Haha, no, most people look at my Galaxy Note 2 and ask if it is a tablet. Or they simply don’t have any idea what it is.

  30. terrorist – looking lowlife

  31. I winder why I can never get polls to come up on the phandroid app.

  32. Never though i’d buy an LG phone, but the Optimus G is hands down the most amazing phone i’ve ever owned. I’ve played with plenty of S3s but the OG is just an amazing piece of tech. I love it :) Iphoners are just annoying because they think owning an apple product makes them pretentious, well guess what, my phone is more powerful then yours, i’ve owned an ipod but haven’t used it since i found android!

  33. Because it was all new Droid was Droid / android
    I don’t believe that will ever happen again as android is evolving
    Hehe I noticed you tossed in one day it might be called nexus. ツ

  34. iPhone friends still think that “Droid” is an abbreviation of “Android”.

  35. How strange to my UK eyes (I don’t think we ever got Droids here). The awareness of Android seems pretty good in my personal experience, but it’s definitely the high end Galaxys that are turning people on. The S3 and the Note are the first Android phones that I’ve experienced Joe Public lusting after rather than considering just because it’s cheaper than iPhone.

  36. I love the phone, but the screen glass is weak. Gorilla glass my butt. My gs3 fell like 3-6″ and now has a crack across the top. Not noticeable with the screen on and doesn’t affect use at all, but saddens me as the phone is like 3 mo old

  37. Nope, still get asked about my iPhone.
    Had it with my HTC Hero, still get it with my HTC Sensation, friends get it with their SII/IIIs.

    I always ask a friend of mine how his android is though, just to annoy his iCrap loving brain.

  38. I have been asked by a female friend who uses a Galaxy S (Her Boyfriend uses a Galaxy S II) why I had that Robot Mascot as a homescreen background, although my phone was not a Samsung.

    I guess that counts as: Yes!

  39. It infuriates me when people refer to Android as “Droid”.
    The only thing that makes me angrier is when people ask if its an iPhone…

  40. I get super annoyed when people ask me if my Galaxy Nexus is “the galaxy” or “a droid”. I just respond with “it’s a nexus” and they look at me like I have 3 heads

  41. Most people I know refer to Android phones as “Droid” not knowing any better. I don’t really correct it anymore, pointless. It’s Googles own fault for poor marketing since day 1.

  42. Galaxy brand is one of the best thing which appeal the people to buy other galaxy phones due to exceptional success of Galaxy S phones.

  43. I can honestly say that the vast majority of people have no idea what they’re talking about. A quarter of the people think that all smartphones are called iPhones, another quarter think they’re all called Droids, the third quarter actually have a clue while the final 25% think a smartphone will steal their soul.

  44. they ask me if that is the galaxy phone it is an s3 then i get asked how i like it

  45. And it’s not a bad SHIFT!

    Google = ideas.
    Apple = marketing.

    SAMSUNG Electronics (a part of $270B+ SAMSUNG Group) is a $190+ Billion tech giant with 5,000+ tech patents a year, $10B+ R&D and endless manufacturing/tech possibilities.

  46. Here on the Central Cal Coast – Nobody wants a Motorola, when anyone mentions Motorola, most think of 2005 era “Razr” and those were less than ideal phones. Folks I know use either Galaxy S3, or Note or Note 2, or iPhones

  47. I get asked if my Nexus 7 is a Kindle Fire.

  48. Epic 4G still in the mix! The last great keyboard phone!

  49. I’m loving my galaxy droid smartphone thing

  50. My friend calls her Toshiba tablet her iPad.

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