For the first time in a long while, we are seeing Google make a move towards establishing Android as a consumer brand. What we're trying to convey is that, when Joe and Jane McRegular pick up their Galaxy smartphones from their carrier, they usually have no idea what operating system it runs and who made it. They don't care much, either. They just know that the phone is made by Samsung, has "apps", and it's not an iPhone. Fair enough, but this device's existence was only made possible thanks to Android, which is something that Google now wants them to know. Previously, the company preferred to let the acknowledgment slide by, even after the revelation that "Galaxy" is a times more popular and sought after brand (respectively, product) than the platform which fuels it. A bit uncanny, considering Android is the world's most popular operating system today.
However, as Google left the problem unattended, some vendors began to take too many liberties with the company (and community)'s hard work. They customized Android's code to the extent of replacing native Google apps with their own clones of them to mask its original identity. That's when Mountain View decided to intervene. Stepping up from previous efforts, when users boot up the Galaxy S5 and the HTC One (M8), two of the hottest smartphones right now, they are greeted with the message "Powered by Android". Notably, "Android" is written in a classic font that we last saw on the HTC G1, the original Android smartphone.
Like a well-deserved "special thanks to..." on an attractive album cover
It's a small, but significant move. It tells users that their shiny new smartphone has been made possible, in a non-insignificant part, thanks to Android. It's like a well-deserved "special thanks to..." on the front of an attractive album cover. The question now is whether the tag will grace all future Android smartphones. It's more likely that devices which use their own, highly-specific forks of Android, like the Amazon tablets and the Nokia X, will spare the nod to Google. Likewise, devices that don't have the Play Store and Google services at the heart of their software experience - Chinese phones, for example - probably won't salute Android. The rest, though, will likely carry the mark of the robot.
photos by Stephan Constantine (@WhatTheBit)