I explained in a recent editorial that Samsung focuses a lot on branding – potentially more than any other Android handset maker. It has a naming scheme that’s fairly easy to decipher, or at least it used to be. You could read the name of a phone and know exactly what it was before you looked at its physical design or spec sheet.
Recently, however, Samsung has clouded its branding and naming schemes by succumbing to brand association, by purposefully choosing poor names for products and associating devices that shouldn’t be associated.
For example, without top notch specifications, technically, the Galaxy S 4 mini should not bear the S moniker. And the Galaxy S 4 Active and Galaxy S 4 Zoom aren’t exactly Galaxy S 4s either, but I’ve already ranted on this. You can read more on that here.
Instead, I’d like to circle back to a phone we reviewed earlier this week, the Galaxy Mega 6.3, and how it’s branding and the device itself is mind-numbingly awful.
As if Samsung didn’t already have enough Android product lines, it went and created yet another brand. Mega. Why? That’s beyond us. I’m not even sure Samsung has a legitimate reason. The phones weren’t even mentioned at the London event yesterday, and since the official announcement, we’ve really heard nothing more about the Mega 5.8 or 6.3.
It’s like these two devices are the black sheep of Samsung’s newest phones. It’s almost as if they don’t exist. And I even stated in the full review that the Mega 6.3 felt, more or less, like a public beta test for the Galaxy Note III.
Sure, the name is applicable. Mega phones are actually … mega. But there was already a Samsung Galaxy brand associated with large phones – Note. The original Galaxy Note was an impressive 5.3-inches when most other phones were no larger than 4.8-inches. And the Galaxy Note II was even larger at 5.5-inches.
Other than size, the only sole feature that defines the Galaxy Note brand is the S Pen. And unlike the S identifier in Galaxy S, which is supposed to indicate high-end specifications, the Note brand has never promised top notch specs. The Note and Note II were both high-end. But, for example, the Galaxy Note 8.0 is a fairly tame tablet, and the Galaxy Note 10.1 is hardly the most impressive Android tablet to date.
The Galaxy Mega 6.3 is, by and large, a mid-range phone. But it would still fit the bill for the Note moniker. Why make yet another unnecessary, confusing line of phones?
I understand why the Mega isn’t a Note. It has no S Pen support. But when you consider how Samsung has treated the Galaxy S 4 brand, slapping the name on three devices that truly aren’t anything like the real S 4, it makes no sense why Samsung wouldn’t simply make the Mega 5.8 and 6.3 Note devices. The Note branding alone would have made such absurdly large smartphones more marketable.
In other words, there’s no reason the Galaxy Mega 6.3 couldn’t or shouldn’t have been a Note. It’s a phone with a 6.3-inch display, a giant display that begs to be used with an S Pen. In my week with the Mega 6.3, I cannot begin to recall the number of times I slid my index finger down the bottom-right back of the device, feeling for the S Pen that, sadly, wasn’t there.
I used to praise Samsung for its clearly defined naming scheme and its prowess in branding – launching a single phone worldwide. But the company is quickly slipping back into its old habits, slapping popular device names on otherwise unrelated products in the name of brand recognition. It’s distasteful, and the fact that the Mega brand exists rather than the devices simply being build-outs of the Note brand completely blows my mind.