07
Feb
2013-02-07_13h18_48

One of the biggest problems Google faces with Android is avoiding a situation where one manufacturer controls so much of the market that everything else falls by the wayside. As study after study shows, though, this is becoming an increasing risk as Samsung gobbles up more customers. To wit, this survey from Localytics—a company that provides analytics for mobile apps— showed that of the top ten Android devices its customers used, eight were made by Samsung, and seven had the Galaxy brand attached.

localytics

The trend is staggering, but not surprising. After all, between Samsung and Apple, the two companies account for somewhere between most and more than all the smartphone profits. However, even when you look at products that we assume are doing very well (because they are!) like the Nexus 7, Samsung is still taking the lead. You'll notice in the chart above that the most used Android tablet that isn't a Kindle is the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0. That's more than a little astounding.

A few things to keep in mind about this study, however: for one, this is a worldwide analysis and Samsung happens to be leading the pack in global distribution of Android handsets. HTC still hasn't quite mastered the whole "one product, many carriers and countries" approach yet, except on the One series to an extent. Plus, the Nexus 7, despite being wildly popular in countries where it's available, is still not sold in nearly as many markets as Sammy's products.

It highlights an important trend, however. Android has always had a problem with branding. Since the very beginning, labels like "with Google" were slapped on to devices, leading to consumers calling them "Google phones," then there was the Droid campaign which led to people calling them "Droids," and even today if you want a pure Android device, they're called "Nexus." In fact, Android as a platform might just always be subject to this type of second-class brand ranking.

The Android ecosystem seems to take it in shifts. HTC used to be the big name in high-quality handsets until Sense started to become less of a benefit and more of a detriment. Motorola seems poised to make a resurgence as its handsets have been fairly popular with people who like them, but the company hasn't had a breakout success in years. Though the anticipation over what Google might do with it is building. Ultimately, if we've learned anything from five years of Android, it's that the brands and major players on top of the platform come and go.

However, at the moment, HTC, Motorola, Sony, LG, and all the other major players should see this as a challenge that not only should, but must be overcome. Localytics is just one company, but the conclusion its study reflects is by no means isolated. Samsung is running away with the market. Contrary to popular belief, there is still plenty of room for the trends to shift back in another company's direction.

Unless everyone is just cool with Nature UX. Which is nice, I guess.

Source: Localytics

Eric Ravenscraft
Eric is a snarky technophile with a taste for the unusual. When he's not obsessing about Android, you can usually find him obsessing about movies, psychology, or the perfect energy drink. Eric weaves his own special blend of snark, satire, and comedy into all his articles.

  • http://twitter.com/PetrBa Petr Bažout

    No HTC in top 10. C'mon HTC do something.

    • http://www.facebook.com/taylor.labrier Taylor LaBrier

      Maybe it's time to consider a Galaxy. Haha!

    • fixxmyhead

      they cant cuz they keep losing billions every quarter lol

      • troph

        HTC makes great phones, they just don't advertise anywhere close to where then need to be. Samsung's marketing, at least in the US, is killing all the other Android phone companies, and it's not even close.

    • Magnus100

      Looks like they've lost their way. Poor battery situation, inadequate storage, poor marketing, delayed updates, etc. If they focus on and fix the above problems, they'll begin to do a lot better

    • jpb

      HTC has to stop putting anemic batteries into pretty phones.

  • Shane Milton

    This used to be the case with the "Droid" brand. Times will change and other manufacturers will adapt and compete harder. Just like Samsung had to do before.

  • Dan

    Don't care. I own a dozen Windows devices manufactured by Acer, HP, Dell, Asus, Toshiba, Lenovo, and Gateway (don't judge, I needed something cheap). The point is that several of these companies didn't exist as PC makers 10 years ago and every one of them had a completely different market share 10 years ago. A rising tide lifts all ships and Samsung's success today just makes the marketplace larger for everyone else.

    • br_hermon

      Dan, you make a good point. PC manufacturers have survived for decades with plenty of room for them all to exist in the market. The rise of Windows was in fact their tidal wave. But... two things that I think need to be taken into consideration. 1. All those computers relied on a closed source operating system. Sure they could install bloat ware, but the experience was the same across the board. Due to it's closed source nature, Microsoft could heavily market "Windows" 2. Because Android is open source, every manufacturer tries to differentiate their versions. The open source nature of Android really opens itself up to at least two vulnerabilities, A. If people do know Galaxy devices to be Android devices, as they outgrow other android devices, consumers will make the Touch Whiz experience synonymous with "Android" and expect it. That's a reason for concern for Google and other OEMs. B. Because people get used to Touch Whiz and again, because Android is open source, there's not much stopping Samsung from creating their own OS. At this point Android almost serves as a learning ground for Samsung, drive with the training wheels, learn the ropes and once they've found something their happy with, throw Android to the side for their own OS. It's already been done by Amazon.

      Given these facts, you could apply the same logic to Linux/Ubuntu's story. They've been around for years but have never gained global, consumer recognition for arguably the same reasons here.

      i don't disagree with you on the success of multiple manufacturers building PCs. But I can't help but think that this is a different situation we have on our hands this time around.

  • FrillArtist

    Sounds like a free market.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

      What else would it be?

      • FrillArtist

        So why the fear? This is the 6th tech blog I've seen posting this same article since yesterday.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

          You're not saying anything.

  • http://profiles.google.com/pbooker117 Phillip Booker

    I love that the Epic 4G is still going strong and was released in 2010. Im still using mine running CM10

    • ddpacino

      Shocked that higher than the Epic Touch 4G

  • http://www.facebook.com/andrei.dorobantu Andrei Dorobantu

    This graph tells an incomplete story. Add up all the orange bars and you get to about 30%. So, the conclusion is that the most popular Galaxy devices make up about 30% of all Android devices.

    • ddpacino

      "Top 10 devices...."

      Yes, it's not the complete story, and never meant to be.

    • RedPandaAlex

      Yep. One of the factors is that Samsung has been one of the best at getting one model of phone on all carriers, while Motorola has a strong relationship with Verizon, and HTC has different named products going to GSM and CDMA carriers. It's not quite as one-sided as the graph would suggest.

    • RajivSK

      Are you assuming that samsung only has devices withing the first top 10? The whole top 10 is marginally more than 30% of which (i'm too lazy to count it up) samsung controls (again too lazy) >95%. The 30% you refer to is more of an incomplete picture than the graph itself. Samsung easily has more than 30% of the android pie.

      I'd love to see a different picture though. My next phone will probably be a samsung phone, just as my current one. And I'm not too happy about that seeing as samsung is not supporting 3d party development the way I'd like them to. There's just too little competition at the moment, which is a bad thing. Worst thing is, I still can't buy a nexus from the play store in my country (netherlands). Google get your act together!

  • Sorian

    Article is off, "You'll notice in the chart above that the most used Android tablet that isn't a Kindle is the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0." Looking at the graph, The Kindle Fire is more then the Tab 2 7" by .3%.

    • tbealmear

      The article is correct. Re-read the sentence that you quoted.

      • Sorian

        You are right, I misread.

        • TylerChappell

          I read it the same way the first one or two times.

    • http://www.facebook.com/taylor.labrier Taylor LaBrier

      No, he said that the most used tab that "Isn't a kindle". In other words: Aside from Kindles, the galaxy tab is the most used android tablet.

      • http://www.facebook.com/taylor.labrier Taylor LaBrier

        And considering that FireOS is so heavily modified from Android, you could make the case to exclude Kindles from the statistics on Android devices, or at least include an asterisk next to their entry.

      • Sorian

        You are right, I misread it.

  • Scott

    Loving my Razr Maxx HD. Signal and build quality is top notch. Can't say that about too many Samsung phones.

    • fixxmyhead

      droid life is that way --->

      • Scott

        What are you talking about?

        • fixxmyhead

          go praise about your garbage droid phone over there

          • Scott

            But I don't want to? And why do you even care.

          • fixxmyhead

            hate verizon and there brainwashed customers that think motofail droid phones are the best. like the other guy said too bad they cant even make a profit

          • Scott

            I'm coming from a Galaxy Nexus and the phone was horrible with reception/losing signal/3g-4g switching. This phone is 100x better with reception.

          • fixxmyhead

            correction: galaxy fakexus. the verizon one is not a real one. the GSM one is fine my wife has it. all these 3g/4g signal seem to only happen on the verizon one. coincidence? i think not

          • Scott

            The problem is Samsung and CDMA radios. For some reason they just can't get it right. Between my new moto phone and my work blackberry, they never drop signal. But my old Nexus did. Add to that list the Droid charge and the Galaxy S3.

          • fixxmyhead

            almost every verzion phone update comes with a new baseband that supposedly fixes connectivity issues . its not just samsung its from everyone. i dont think its the radios i think it stems from verizons cdma tech

          • GraveUypo

            i have a galaxy s3 but i agree with him. motorola is easily the best android brand, even though the specs on their phones have been lackluster for a while now.
            so what? what's it to you?

    • jpb

      Super. Too bad Motorola can't seem to make a profit on it.

  • Mario

    I think it's a good thing. A Galaxy is not a Nexus; even though they both run Android, the Nexus is pure Android and therefore should not be confused with a Galaxy. Yes a lot of times when you say you have an Android phone many people will now say, "oh is it a galaxy?" but who cares really? Same as "droid" I guess. Doesn't bother me either way. The techies and phone addicts will know the difference between brands, and that's what matters.

  • http://www.facebook.com/RobJohnson90 Rob Johnson

    All this does is help make Sony phones feel even more premium and for a better kind of person than one that would settle for a Samsung.

  • JG

    1.) I'm kind of surprised there are no Nexus devices listed in the chart... Not even the Galaxy Nexus. Whenever I see "What phone should I get?" posts, it seems 99.9% of the responses are "NEXUS"....

    2.) I'd really like to see an updated version in a couple years.... After Moto is done pushing out Moto flavored phones & are only working on Googlola flavored phones. Especially if the whole ditching Blur in favor of stock Android rumor is true, and is used on more than just the X-Phone.... Imagine all summer-2013 and beyond Moto devices updating like 2 weeks behind the Nexus devices, and several months ahead of any other OEM's device...I'm sure that'd get the attention of a few users when they go looking for a new phone...

    • http://twitter.com/TwinShadow_SH Ryan

      1. The Nexus device line, although popular for what they are, I can see why they don't end up on these type of lists. When people recommend them, look at the website you see those recommendations coming from.. Rootz, Droid-Life, Android Police, Android Forums.. etc.... They are POWER USER sites where they make up barely 10% of the market, if that. Its a small market with us who like to tinker with Android.

      2. Motorola has done somewhat well with removing blur in their ICS and JB updates on the RAZR line. (still waiting for JB on the Bionic..) From my initial playing with it briefly before I moved back to CM9, Blur is pretty much gone on ICS for Moto devices aside from small elements that are remaining, but its not the POS that it was on GB, that I can at least attest to.

      • Scott

        Yes the new Moto devices software is as close to stock android as you can get. It's actually really good.

  • Davy Jones

    The solution to Android's branding issue is actually really simple. They just need to rename to Play Store into "Android Market". And I mean really label it, with logos and titles all over. Since the Play Store is really the only thing that connects all Google certified Android phones, this is the place to push the branding. They can even supplement this by adding more included Android apps. Have an "Android Game Hub" or "Android Backup Center" or something of this sort. "Google" branding isn't enough since a lot of the Google apps are on the iOS as well.

    • br_hermon

      Perhaps.. but the whole reason Google dropped the Android branding was because they wanted to sell music and movies to people who don't own Android devices.

      Google had the branded devices first, then the content later. Amazon had the content first and added the devices later. But you don't see Amazon branding everything "Kindle"

      Personally I'd love to see more Android branding and it grow in popularity but alas I don't think that will be the case. At the end of the day Google is most interested in what brings them money and data. And they can do that with and without Android. As you pointed out, they have apps on iOS too.

      *Side note* Do they even advertise "Android" branding in any of their Nexus commercials? That alone shows you how cherished the Android brand is to them.

  • IncCo

    US stats

  • http://twitter.com/JeebsAlexander James Alexander

    Samsung has the best phones and supreior marketing campaigns. Also, the GS III is available at almost every carrier worldwide. On top of that, they have great brand recognition from their TV's, Blu Ray players, and other appliances. Nothing to be surprised about.

    • Steve Freeman

      Samsung definitely does not have the best phones...their phones have crappy radios. And since these are phones, which require connectivity, having a good radio is kind of important.

      • IvanP

        Well, I changed my htc for Galaxy device just because on htc, radio was awful, and I have no objections on Galaxy's radio at all. I'm not sure your argument is valid...

  • Matti

    Sad

  • John O’Connor

    Waiting for the bastardized Samdroid.(Following the Google Nomenclature for full releases that would put us firmly in the letter "S" for Android v(lucky?)13....

    hmmmm.. Googlezon Galaxy Samdroid 13?? Worse names have happened surely. /S

  • guest222

    The lower segment in India is dominated by local brands. And they sell because of Android. Samsung has almost lost that segment.

  • TylerChappell

    I am not entirely surprised that the GalaxyTab 2 7.0 would make it on the list. A huge percentage of people looking to buy tablets will choose some crap store like Best Buy to go to first, and of course, since they don't carry the Nexus 7, many customers are completely oblivious to its existence until later. And then I am sure once they are told that the GTab can be used as a TV remote, they are all over it thinking that now they have some super advanced piece of technology to control their TV with.

  • Asphyx

    It all comes down to WHO is doing the Marketing folks....
    Google does not do it's own ANDROID promotional campaign, and I'm not even sure it would be smart to do so as it will just muddle the market.
    Samsung has gone on a marketing spree, and While Moto does promote it's devices, none of thier devices has the COOL factor that sells phone these days.
    I am hoping that changes once a Google inspired Moto Phone is released and they make the same type of push Samsung has been making.
    But the sales figures we are seeing is proportional to the marketing. HTC and Moto have commercials out but are hardly advertising as much as the Samsung and Apple groups. And thats why Samsung and Apple appear to be a Two Phone market in the sales figures.

  • Elias

    Alternative title: yet another study shows people are stupid.
    They will always call any smartphone an iPhone, call razors Gilletes, call photocopies Xerox.

  • http://twitter.com/mxfox408 Jake Fox

    Put it this way, Samsung gives customers what they want and what they like best in their phones hint hint external SD removable batteries.

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