Samsung studies show people confused Galaxy Tab with iPad

Internal documents show that Samsung recognized consumers had trouble telling the Galaxy Tab and the iPad apart in advertising, something that led to strategical changes.

A slide from one of Samsung's internal reports included quotes from then Apple CEO Steve Jobs about how software was key to the mobile equation. Samsung; screenshot by Greg Sandoval/CNET

According to Samsung's own internal studies, many consumers mistook the Galaxy Tab tablet computer for the iPad.

"Over half of consumers who recognize the Samsung sponsored TabTVC [believed to mean TV commercial] thought it was for Apple," according to a survey that Samsung sponsored and that was completed in January 2011. "Only 16 percent thought it was for Samsung.... Only 11 percent of consumers are aware and can link the Galaxy Tab back to Samsung while 65 percent of consumers are aware and can link the iPad back to Apple."

The people who conducted the study, however, reported back that recognition of the Galaxy was growing and advised Samsung leaders to continue "to offer distinct and distinguishable Galaxy products."

The study was one of at least two that were entered into evidence yesterday as part of the patent trial going on in San Jose, Calif., between Apple and Samsung. Apple last year accused Samsung of ripping off the look and feel of the iPhone and iPad to build its competing products. Samsung countersued and claimed Apple violated several of its patents. The surveys fly in the face of Samsung's recent attempts to show that there was little confusion among consumers between Apple's and Samsung's products.

The trial, which continues Friday, has meant that both parties have seen secrets spill out into public view -- including everything from photos of iPhone, iPad, and Galaxy prototypes to internal documents from both camps detailing long-term business strategies.

The two Samsung surveys entered into evidence yesterday boil down to this: in 2008 Samsung was becoming very aware that Apple's iPhone, with its touch-screen technology, was completely reconstructing the mobile-phone market. A group called Gravitytank collaborated with Samsung on a report dated December 2008 and titled "Touch Portfolio: Rollout Strategy, Recommendation based on consumer insight."

The report illustrates the growing dominance of the iPhone and the smartphone's touch technology in the minds of consumers as well as how Samsung's handsets were threatened by Apple's. In court yesterday, Apple used these reports to make the case that Samsung was desperate to stem the bleeding and that this was the mind-set of managers at the company when they began copying Apple's phones. Samsung has always denied Apple's accusations and argues that it has been a long-time innovator, including making some of the key parts of Apple's phones and tablets.

Apple v. Samsung

Important dates in the patent dispute.

January 9, 2007
The Apple iPhone debuts.

April 15, 2011
Apple files suit against Samsung, asserting patent and trade-dress claims.

June 30, 2011
Samsung files counterclaims against Apple. In response to Samsung's infringement claims related to its standards patents, Apple asserts counterclaims of license exhaustion and FRAND/antitrust violations.

July 1, 2011
Apple files a motion for preliminary injunction against the Galaxy S 4G, Infuse 4G, and Droid Charge smartphones, and the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet, which was denied on December 2, 2011.

June 26, 2012
Apple appeals the denial of preliminary injunction to the Federal Circuit, which affirms on all counts except the D'889 design patent, which claims the design of a tablet computer. On this day, the court enters preliminary injunction against the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet based on the D'889 patent.

July 31, 2012
Opening arguments in the trial begin.

Keep in mind that Apple is presenting its case and we've yet to hear Samsung's side of the story. Apple is working hard to paint Samsung as an idea thief and copy artist. To do that, Apple's lawyers are trying to establish that the look and feel of the iPhone and iPad are unique. In court yesterday, the company tapped Hal Poret, a researcher at ORC International, to further prove that point. Poret showed examples of evidence that in just a few years after the release of the iPhone and the iPad, consumers had already come to identify the general shape of smartphones and tablets with Apple's brand.

In another survey, titled "Deep Dive," Samsung appears to have conducted consumer tracking from May of 2008 to January 2011. In this study, Samsung's researchers paint a grim picture of how Apple continued to wreak havoc on competitors in the smartphone market, but in this case they also illustrated Apple's near total control of the tablet segment as well.

Researchers who conducted the 2008 study wrote that consumers loved touch-screen technology, and they didn't pull any punches about how the media and consumers felt about the iPhone.

From the study: "Pundits tell us that the iPhone is a revolution and so do iPhone users...owners are almost giddy with excitement when they talk about their iPhones."

Later in the report, researchers noted that "Samsung touch phones are liked, but not loved...while people like the phones, they don't exhibit the same kind of passion and loyalty as they do with the iPhone."

The study reported that none of Samsung's phones at the time made a "design statement." They wrote that consumers didn't believe they were "groundbreaking" and they looked "too plain, too extreme, or too much like other Samsung phones."

The Instinct got favorable reviews from consumers, according to Samsung's study, but what hurt the handset was a lack of "core touch benefits."

The researchers concluded that "Samsung is not delivering on the full promise of touch."

In the consumer tracking survey completed in 2011, researchers wrote in a section titled "Category Landscape" that: "Apple has shown consistent growth in awareness over the course of the year, rivaling Samsung as the manufacturer with the most top of mind brand awareness in the category. Also, preference and purchase intent continue to be strong for Apple."

The company also noted that "Traditional handset makers (Moto, Nokia, LG) are losing ground since the smartphone boom; unaided awareness, preference, and purchase intent has declined in Q4 for the three manufacturers.... Samsung is the one traditional manufacturer to increase awareness, preference, and purchase intent...primarily driven by females and younger consumers, as well as growth of T-Mobile."

The researchers offered some good news: Since the launch of the Galaxy line, awareness and preference of the Samsung brand has increased."

But even that was tempered by Apple's growth. The report showed that in a category called "brand purchase intent," Samsung saw 3 percent growth in the fourth quarter of 2010 while Apple showed a 5 percent improvement. When it came to tablets, Samsung's researchers showed that Apple's iPad was "by far" the most recognized product on the market.

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