Powered by Android branding shows up on the Samsung Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8 [Updated]



The Samsung Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8 are shipping with branding we haven’t seen before. These smartphones are letting the world know that they’re “Powered by Android” as soon as you turn them on, right on the boot screen.

In the past, we’ve seen reports that Samsung was winning the branding war, as most Samsung users think they’re running a “Galaxy” and not Android. This is the nature of Android OEMs as every OEM has their own line or multiple lines of Android products, making it generally hard to determine exactly what you’re using. Is your smartphone a Verizon branded DROID? A Galaxy? An Xperia? Or maybe you’re rockin’ a Transformer. The list could go on and on. Since Android is far from a household name, it would be wise for Google to let consumers know who’s in charge and what product they’re actually running.

What if every smartphone or tablet launching after a certain date had to include proper branding if the OEM wanted their new hardware to play in Google’s Playground? It doesn’t sound too far fetched, right? And, what better way to do it than prominently displaying the official Android logo every time the device boots?

While this does sound like a mandated change from Google, seeing two flagship devices from very prominent Android OEMs both producing devices featuring the “Powered by Android” branding, we reached out to Google for official confirmation yesterday and are still awaiting a response to be certain. It’s also worth noting that the Verizon HTC One M8 is not following suit as the “Powered by Android” branding is missing from the boot screen on their version. We’ll let you know if we hear anything.

Update: has received confirmation that this is indeed mandated by Google and part of the Google Mobile Services agreement. The “Powered by Android” branding includes it’s own set of guidelines from Google and must be displayed for OEMs to access the Google Play Store. Moving forward, all new devices will display the new logo.

Powered by Android mandate

Image Credit: S5, M8

Derek Ross
I'm a passionate Android enthusiast that's on the pulse of the latest Android news, writing about Android as often as possible. I'm also a little addicted to social networking. Hit me up, I'd love to chat.

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  1. I like how that looks a lot.

  2. Honestly, I’d expect something like “with Google,” but not this.

    This is quite unexpected and I like it. I like it a lot. :)

    1. I know, it brings back memories of the original boot screen with that font

      1. The good ole G1 boot animation / AOSP boot animation ;)

    2. This is nice :) Wonder why the VZW version doesn’t have it…

      Those silly Verizon people, always being different.

    3. I weep for humanity when they can’t understand the simple fact of what OS is running on their mobile device. It’s 2014, the general consumer can’t afford to be naive or ignorant about what they carry in their pockets.

      “Is it a Galaxy or Android?” Kill yourself mate.

  3. I was thinking that the S5 was going to first launch on Android and then that rumored better spec’d phone was maybe going to launch with Tizen or at the very minimum, launch an S5 with Tizen

  4. I wish this had been done since Day 1. I cannot even begin to explain how hard it is to keep calm when I ask someone who has a Galaxy (like if they come from iPhone) if they are enjoying Android when they say “This is a Samsung” or “This is a Galaxy” or not as bad but still pretty bad – “I have a Droid”…. Le sigh. Know what phone you have at least.

    1. CGS, chill. They aren’t wrong. If you own a Galaxy, it’s true. It’s just powered by Android. Android is not Android when it’s manipulated by an OEM. It becomes a variant. The only real Android is a Nexus device or a GPE device.

      1. Really ? Android is Android no matter what skin its under. Its Android, not a variant. While Nexus or GPE devices are pure Android, it doesnt make the skinned version any less Android. I for one want to punch people that have an Android phone and call it a DROID when its not.

        1. That’s a rational response….

        2. How about when someone, which I MUST add, who has an iPhone tell you that all Android phones are Droids?

          Not that I’m a frequent visitor to this site. So you know my blood was boiling.

          Let me not forget to mention that she got in an argument about it, too. LoL!!

        3. Droid is the name of the phone, not the OS. People are dumbasses!

          1. And I have Verizon for that branding.

        4. Please note, he did say it was “POWERED BY ANDROID”. You’re totally missing his point, which is that the question posed is stupid. Say I own a Ford Taurus, and someone comes up to me and asks, “Do you own a Taurus or a car?” Um, I’d immediately think they were at the very least a confused individual, but I’d start by saying I had a Taurus…it’s closest to the truth. I own a Galaxy S3, and if someone asked me whether I owned a Galaxy or an Android, I know I’d start by saying Galaxy…mostly because I’d be certain they were mixed up, and might have even meant “Droid” instead of Android. I hear a lot of confusion on that count all the time. “Oh, is that a Droid?” or “Did you see that Android thing Verizon is selling?”

        5. I don’t mean to give you all a reminder of what licensing means, though a comparison may seem beneficial, but OEMs taking Android under a license means they can make it their own to almost no end; to the point where it can look proprietary (i.e. – Kindle Fire). Sure, I can say I have an Android phone, even though it’s an HTC One M8, but it is a bit of a misnomer because it is HTC’s version of Android. The features, benefits and design language has been tweaked to HTC’s liking. Sure, you can run Android apps on it from Play, or even exclusive apps from other app stores like Amazon or Samsung Hub if you have a qualifying device.

          Look at this: Schering-Plough Corporation makes the drug Loratadine, which can be licensed by other companies to make their own over-the-counter products like Claritin. Other companies have Loratadine as their core active ingredient, too, but each of those companies can add their own ingredients, and ultimiately create their own (almost) entirely different product. You have a choice of many drugs that can do the same thing, sure, but some do more than others. Yay for licensing.

          “I have an HTC phone” is more accurate than myself saying I have an Android. I really have an HTC that is powered by Android. I’m saying I have a phone that has HTC hardware, a special cam, running a particular OS, special apps no one else has, etc. I am amazed how angry some of the responses are to my outlook because it’s the beauty of Android really. It’s whatever you want it to be, and asking, “When is an Android NOT an Android?” is a great question to explore.

          If you want to get reasonably annoyed, apply it to people who say a phone is a Galaxy when clearly it’s an Xperia or a One. I remember a flight attendant thinking my Sony tablet was an iPad. I mentally rolled my eyes and was a little miffed, so I can understand why people recoil when things are not identified correctly, but it is just simple ignorance. Nothing to get bent out of shape over.

      2. That’s not true. First of all, GPE devices are often slightly modified. Look at the s4 GPE. It works with the Notification flip cover, while a “stock” Android device wouldn’t. Therefore, that is not, according to you, Android.

        Also, if your computer is using Ubuntu, is it not using Linux?

        Also, if we follow your statement, are AOSP ROMs such as Cyanogenmod not Android? They are not manipulated by an OEM, but they aren’t PURE Android.

        Finally, the Google Now Launcher used to be N5 exclusive, does that make the n5 not Android?

        1. I installed a third party app on my phone. Does that mean I’m not running Android anymore? D:


          1. How dare you install a 3rd party app! You’ve compromised the perfection of Android, which was NEVER supposed to be modified! Once it’s modified, its not even Android anymore! Its not like Android is open source or anything!


          2. Now you can’t make fun of Touchwiz anymore you filthy android desecrater!

      3. Android is Android. The forked Kindle Fire OS is still Android because it’s based on the Android Open Source Project.

      4. The Nexus 5 has the Google Now launcher and the Nexus 7 does not by default! Therefore the Nexus 7 has stock Android and the Nexus 5 has a skin!!!!

      5. yeah, they use completely different apps! *roll eyes*

  5. Wouldn’t have been surprised if Verizon had replaced it with “Powered by Verizon”

    1. They would if they could.

      1. Not enough 4G LTE logos.

        1. u guys are killin me lol

        2. Your right…

          1. Died at 4GLTE

          2. lmao you win teh internetz today.

          3. There are still some pixels that haven’t been utilized by Verizon. The screen should look like the Verizon map just so you never forget how awesome Verizon’s coverage is

  6. More accurate- Powered by battery?

  7. This is long overdue . I know so many people that think that Galaxy phones are their own thing, goes the same for other android phones.

    1. Who are these people?

      1. Friends, family, general consumers.

      2. Yup there’s an entire universe of android users who don’t go to phandroid (or any android site). They like to play Pet Rescue Saga

    2. you know a lot of idiots

      1. or people who just dont spend half of their time on android blogs.

  8. Can we troll Apple users with something funny? “Not powered by iTrash?”

  9. Looks cool to me ..

  10. I actually had a conversation with someone who said she was thinking of getting the new Galaxy phone or an Android phone. Since it was an S4 and relatively new at the time, I told her to “get the Galaxy. Which will also run apps made for Android.” Not kidding. This solved her dilemna.

    1. Dullard. Oh the average consumer is funny.

    2. Then again so does an Amazon kindle HD

  11. it should say powered by linux :D

  12. I swear, Verizon always has to be different, their like the Apple of wireless carriers, can’t do anything standard.

    1. There’s a possibility that Verizon already had agreements with HTC prior to Google’s plans. (Per what a close friend with knowledge on this matter had told me.)

  13. Is this to stop people thinking that Tizen & Android are the same thing when Samsung inevitably move over to their own OS?

    1. Why is it inevitable?> Plenty of reasons for them not too, mainly the Play Store.

  14. Android is a household name. A study by consumer reports showed people recognized the android logo as much as they did Microsoft. No where near apple sure but its a household name

    1. Plus we have the cute little mascot that kids love!

  15. How often do people boot their phones though, let alone look a the bootloader animation? It’s nice, but I don’t think it’ll help Android’s branding much in the long term.

    1. it only takes one time. So many people don’t know that the galaxy S series and my nexus both run the same OS until i tell them.

  16. as if we’re going to confuse ANY Android device with an iphone!

    1. you’ll be amazed a lot of people out there don’t even know what android is.

  17. I cannot even begin to explain how hard it is to keep calm when I ask someone who has a Galaxy (like if they come from iPhone) if they are enjoying Android when they say “This is a Samsung” or “This is a Galaxy” or not as bad but still pretty bad – “I have a Droid”…. Le sigh. Know what phone you have at least.

  18. I customized my Moto X on the MotoMaker website so it says ‘not an iPhone’ on the splash screen. Now it seems kinda redundant because it says ‘not an iPhone’ right above the new ‘powered by Android’ slogan. I get why they did it, but I miss the old spash screen. The Moto logo spinning around and animating into different little planetoids was pretty cool looking. This feels like a step backwards.

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