Samsung's branding may spell success for Galaxy S III

In what may be the company's smartest decision yet, Samsung is going with one branding and design for the flagship phone of 2012.

The Galaxy S III has five carriers, two colors, and two memory sizes, but only one design. Brian Bennett/CNET

Given all the attention that the Samsung Galaxy S III is garnering today , it's easy to overlook some of the finer points.

One detail that has been lost in the shuffle could have long-lasting implications for Android. It's not the 2GB RAM, although that does sound wonderful, and it's not the dual-core processor. Nope, it's not the universal launch date either. Instead, what's really significant is the singular design and branding for the Galaxy S III across all of the five U.S. carriers scheduled to carry it. Here's why.

Android cases? Yeah, right
Ask a number of mobile accessory manufacturers why they don't offer gel skins or cases for Android devices and you'll generally hear that there are too many form factors to consider. In fact, whenever I attend trade shows and industry events, I always stop by companies like Otterbox and Body Glove just to see what's new. Unfortunately, I never hear, "Come take a look at all of our Android accessories!" Instead, it's usually more along the lines of, "We're looking at a few things right now but most of our eggs are in the iPhone basket."

I understand that it has to be tough for a gel skin manufacturer or case maker to find moderate success with Android. Sure, there's the occasional top-seller like an Evo 4G or Droid Razr Maxx that merits serious research and development, but the pace of Android handset development is just too fast.

Imagine, for example, trying to forecast which models will sell well or receive big pushes from their respective carriers. It's not as if you can slide into the market a few months later after you see which models are selling. Why? Because another model is set to replace it just a few months from now.

More like Apple?
With the Galaxy S III announcement, however, Samsung is changing that. And in more ways than one the company has become a little more like its archrival Apple. Just consider that the months leading up to the official announcements were riddled with hype and conjecture . I haven't seen any Android product pull in as much prerelease interest as this model.

Looking at the landscape as a whole, one gets a sense that Samsung may plan to slow its product cycles a bit to one major device per year. And, while these two developments might get noticed by Android enthusiasts, it's the accessory support and universal experience that result from such unity that most consumers will appreciate.

Keeping the same design and name for each wireless provider not only makes it easier for case manufacturers, but also it ensures better name recognition for consumers. Think about it...once Sammy begins advertising the Galaxy S III, consumers will recognize the device no matter whether they're on T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint, Verizon Wireless, or U.S Cellular. Remember that wasn't the case with previous Galaxy S models where carriers chose different names for the handsets and even different designs.

All in a name
Should Samsung get this right , and I have no reason to suspect otherwise, this may be the first Android release where average consumer types are talking about a particular series. Sure, Verizon had that to a degree with the original Droid, but there was still confusion as to what was different about "Droid" and Android.

Going further, this is an entire series and not just one model on one provider. Considering that the Galaxy S III will be available across at least five carriers this summer, consumers won't have to worry about switching carriers or what makes Company X's handset better than Company Y's.

So, yes, I applaud Samsung for making this move. But as excited as I am about today's announcements, I can imagine there is plenty of watercooler chat at places like Speck, Belkin, and BodyGuardz.

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