When it comes to mobile devices, how important is brand loyalty to you?

by: Andrew GrushMay 29, 2013

Android vs iOS

Just yesterday I wrote an opinion piece about whether or not LG deserves another chance at making a Nexus device. As you might expect, the opinions I received varied wildly. Some folks felt that it wouldn’t matter who built the Nexus, as long as it was provided an excellent Android experience. Others thought that their “brand of choice” could do it better.

This brings up a good question. How important is brand loyalty to you? Is it a driving force behind your buying decisions, or just a minor consideration?

For me, it is an important consideration, but not the only one. For example, over the years I have generally purchased Samsung mobile devices, even before the smartphone era really took off. I also tend to gravitate towards Google products and services, Android obviously included.

So does that mean I have all Samsung and Google products in my household? Nope.

I currently own an LG Nexus 4. I have a Windows PC. And I still primarily use Yahoo for my email services (I don’t know why either). For all of these decisions, it wasn’t at all about the brand. It was about how a particular device fitted my needs at the time, all while giving me a reasonable price and quality experience.

I have nothing against rooting for a particular brand. Unfortunately, some people seem to get carried away here and stop being loyal to brands – and instead start worshiping them.

How brand loyalty can hold back innovation in the mobile world

The hottest stars in the mobile world are arguably Apple and Samsung. They both have extremely loyal fanbases that would buy their devices regardless of what features they came with.

For the most devoted Apple fans, it doesn’t matter that Android offers more screen sizes, NFC, a flexible operating system and better pricing. Apple IS the only company that matters on Earth to these folks and it can do no evil. I’m not just picking on Android’s rival platform here. Samsung devotees are often equally guilty of many of the same things.

Sure, Samsung’s latest Galaxy S4 packs great technology onboard, but they have also been pushing the same plastic design for as far as I can remember, in a world that has quickly shifted to preferring metal-bodied designs. And then there is TouchWiz, which depending on your own preferences, you either love or hate.

Yet any time anyone points these less desirable aspects out, a few rabid Samsung or Apple fans seem to turn to “attack mode”. Now keep in mind I’m not saying that the Galaxy S4 is a bad device (I actually REALLY am impressed with it), and I’m not even trash-talking the iPhone.

My point is that these devices and companies aren’t perfect, despite what Samsung and Apple’s advertising dollars work to tell us.

If a device doesn’t meet your expectations, don’t be afraid to turn it down, even if you enjoyed past generation devices from a specific brand. If you do buy it just “because it’s the flagship from my favorite brand”, you could potentially be hurting innovation.

Think of every dollar received by a company as a vote in favor of the brand’s current direction. The more votes they get, the less likely they are to change direction or consider major changes that push the industry forward. The less votes (dollars) they get, the more likely they are going to take a long, hard look in the mirror.

An example of this is HTC. While some of you might still not have love for HTC, I have to give the company props for the HTC One. It is a solid smartphone with an aesthetically pleasing design, and is the by-product of a lot of time and reflection. If HTC hadn’t seen declining profits, the innovative and beautiful HTC One wouldn’t exist.


Does your favorite company deserve your loyalty?

You love Samsung, HTC, Apple, or Google with a passion. But do they love you back? No, they love the $$$ you bring. That’s just how businesses work.

That said, there are good reasons to stick to a specific company or brand. This includes companies that regularly push out timely updates, continually display exceptional build quality or always deliver epic customer service. The common denominator here is consistency.

If you find a brand that meets your expectations every time, you probably have little reason to give anyone else a try. Just be careful, and don’t forget that there are other choices out there.

Also be quick to realize when a company is no longer consistently delivering the aspect that drew you to them in the first place. For example, whether you love or hate Apple, the company’s original iPhone and iPad were certainly innovative devices.

Today though? We see minor hardware revisions and few major, ground-breaking changes. So is Apple really innovative or are they living on past glory and brand loyalty? There’s no right or wrong answer to that, it’s just food for thought.

Don’t let brand loyalty keep you from finding your perfect phone or tablet

While I absolutely love Android and am a big Google fan, would I let blind loyalty hold me to it? No, I can’t say I would. If Ubuntu, Tizen or even iOS rolled out superior features and services, I would still respect Google and all it offers but I would seriously consider a different path.

Some could say that means I’m fickle and will go wherever the wind takes me. Maybe they are right, but I certainly wouldn’t make these changes easily or without serious thought. I’m just saying I try to keep an open mind about other companies and technologies around me, despite where my loyalties might lie.

We’ve seen Apple advocates switch to Android before, despite their loyalty. Why? Because they wanted more and finally saw past the marketing bullshit. This includes big names like Guy Kawaski and Andy Ihnatko. On the other side of the fence, there have also been a fair amount of Android users that have made the switch to iPhone, realizing that it met their own personal needs in a way Android apparently did not.

I respect both sides here, as they weighed the pros and cons of a brand/device and went with it, regardless of their own bias and/or past loyalties. Don’t let your love for a brand hold you back from the device you’ve always dreamed of. Pure and simple.

What do you think, do some folks take brand loyalty way too far? Does this get in the way of innovation? Or do you feel it is only natural to aggressively defend and love a product/brand that serves you well?

  • philnolan3d

    I’ll use whatever works best, for me that is Android. Within Android I’ll do the same. My first was a Motorola. I really wanted a Galaxy Note next but Verizon didn’t offer it at the time so I ended up with Motorola again. I think next will definitely be a Samsung.

  • RarestName

    Brand loyalty sounds silly :/

  • Friðberg Leifs Jensson

    It doesn’t matter what device I use, I use what works for me. Except apple, it is to closed for me.

    • mobilemann

      i bet you nothing about apple closed platform wouldn’t work for you, apart from your attitude about it.

      /from someone who does more than you on mobile devices
      //who also currently is rocking 4.2.2:D

  • Ørjan Baglo

    Not really loyal towards a brand, altough I am loyal mostly loyal to the stock android skin. Just bought the Xperia tablet z, probably atleast going to put nova or apex on it. Dont really want to install cm or similar on it since there are so many features you loose if you do.

  • MasterMuffin

    Doesn’t matter. And seriously, Yahoo? :D

  • lil bit

    Sony is favorite, but the last phone we bought, just this month, was Samsung Galaxy Grand. Even looked at China brands to find the best at that price and size we were after. No problem with buying other brands when they are the better option, in this case Xperia TX was too expensive, sure it bests the Grand in every way but the grand was more than good enough this time around.


    People that want lag choose android.

    • Espen

      You’re a funny one, aren’t ya? Just by looking at all your recent comments you don’t seem to like android at all… So, why are you here?

      • swannanoa72

        To promote the iphone. This person actually is one of the official promoters of the iphone, employed by Apple. This is one of their desperate ways of ‘attracting’ people using phones powered by the Android OS – by continuously ranting that ‘iphone is this’, ‘iphone is that’, ‘iphone has so much of oomph value’ etc. So once the android users on this forum get brainwashed by reading all this rant they will switch to the iphone.

        • mobilemann

          i would love to see proof of apple doing this, but not just you saying that, more like the famous “post at 8:20” samsung thing.

    • Carl Draper

      ^ every single article I see this joker with his dumb comments

    • Moku

      You seem to be a person of lower intelligence, or a blind iSheep of some kind. Why don’t you do the world a favor and stop bashing Android? Just because you got some cheap Android phone that runs slow doesn’t mean that it represents Android as a whole. Judging by your argument, you:
      1. Had a low-end Android that is filled with bloatware/has 2.3 or below/both
      2. Have never tried a high-end Android phone.
      3. You’re some troll. In that case, I will politely tell you to fuck off.

    • My wife has an iPhone 4 and I have a HTC One X.

      My phone is completely lag free.

      My wife’s phone lags on the most basic games and the Operating System gets more laggy with each OS update while my Android phone becomes less laggy with each OS update.

      So while Apple forces you to either stay behind in OS updates to have a lag free OS or buy a new phone while Android your phone becomes faster with each update.

      So you want to waste money to stay lag free go for Apple.

      You want to save money and stay lag free than go for Android.


        Your wifes iPhone 4 doesn’t lag. Your one x does.

        • Kapil

          Like you know him and his wife more than he does.

          • swannanoa72

            Kapil – please! IHATEHIPSTERSSS knows more about other’s phones, than they do themselves. You ought to have realized that by now!

    • Whitaker

      Proper English is “people who” (“objects that”).

      Typical uneducated Apple fanboy, spreading his/her ignorance across an uncaring world.

      • Kishore

        Yes he/she is here to spread his/her views…. never knew that all the android fans were so very well educated (sarcasm) xD…. People , every1 has their freedom to speak up and to spread their views. Just because many of you hate Apple it doesnt mean that everyone should hate it or it isn’t doing well . Im both an apple fan boy and an android fan boy. Now go on share your views Mr./Ms. English lecturer :D and btw even im poor in english xD

    • iDroidfan

      Stopping trolling you tard!

    • Kapil

      Sir, Are you lost?
      I can show you the way. http://www.cultofmac.com
      This where you should write it and I can assure you that you will have at least 7 likes.

    • SeraZR™

      no lag on a single core processor here

      typical Apple fanboy n00b


        Lag on an octa core processor here

        Typical fandroid noob

        • SeraZR™

          lol no lag whatsoever on my one v with a custom ROM

          That doesnt mean things load faster! The UI is sooo lagless
          try a custom rom of God’s sake

          • mobilemann

            i’ve gotten my sg3 to a near lagless state with cm10, but it’s touch response time is still no where near that of my iphone 5, or my wife’s 4s.

            Not that i’m defending that kid who’s obviously trolling, just putting in my 2c.

    • I_Love_Samsung_But_Not_Lag!!!


    • Mark Mann

      it’s funny that people are giving ihatehipstersss exactly what he wants…and that’s a reaction

  • bill

    Jelly bean on my note 2 is lag free

    • Alex Zhao

      I realize my note 2 lags when comparing to my friend’s s4

      • mobilemann

        my i747 (sg3) is night and day with and without touchwiz (touchwiz having much, much worse lag, and touch input lag.)

        the aosp rom i’m running is cm10.1 nightlies, because the battery on the nightlies kills the battery life on rc4

  • PuzzledObserver

    I have no loyalty. Let’s say, Apple has been selected by Google to manufacture the 5th generation Google Nexus phone. The phone has outstanding quality, good specs and costs less than $300. I will buy it without any hesitation.

    • NoFruit

      Gave me shivers just thinking about that!

    • Moku

      That… actually sounds like it’d be nice, but Apple would never allow that. Considering the OS the iPhone runs, it’s technically a Nexus-esque device, only one that gets updates based on iOS, not Android. Still, it’d be something for me to consider.

  • Donovan Williams

    I really don’t care about brand loyalty. My Macbook and iMac are great machines for me as a photographer. So, using an iPhone lets let’s me interact with my machines. That’s really the only reason for me having one. Some may call me an Apple whore, but no, my machines just work well together and take the beating I need them to while lasting for a decade or so.

  • IanDickson

    I have a samsung LCD, samsung phones (Note II, S3 for my wife, and two SGS phones that we gave to the kids), a samsung monitor in my office that I brought from home, a samsung tab 2…yes…the brand is fairly important.

    You keep going to the brand. That’s what it is all about!

  • maropene ramokgopa

    I forever been in love with Nokia up until Android and Samsung came to the party. Since then I have been in love with Sammy. Am patiently waiting and holding thumbs for Nokia to consider Android, so I can go back.

  • Jdeluce

    Apple had it right but stopped innovating. Gave up after iPhone 4.

    Samsung rocked, but now put out flaky gimmicks. Rocked S3 and Note. Note 2 shipped without advertised features. S4 just seems gimmicky and #Sameold or #Samejunk in my opinion.

    Tried HTC in the past, and hated them. But am loving the HTC One!

    Features that work as advertised and when shipped.

    Brands need to work for loyalty. For me, HTC has done that this time.

    • EvenInTheDarkestHour

      “Features that work as advertised and when shipped.”

      Absolutely. Especially as the cost of devices increase with the list of the “amazing” features, it amazes me that companies still expect consumers to accept being their bata testers. “It’ll likely be fixed with a ‘future’ update…”

  • Anthonydotcom

    Nope. I buy the best device that’s right for me at the time. This time HTC won my dollars. Last year it was Samsung. Wow, i’m actually on a HTC, Samsung, HTC, Samsung, HTC endless loop of phones.

  • First of all great article. I think brand loyalty can go rampage. But I do think Samsung has a lot of brand loyal fans, but so did blackberry. Things change. So I really love Samsung now. Cutting edge devices and timely updates. But I would consider other phones. HTC One has good build quality but screen too small for me. But that’s why we have choices. Let’s all choose what we need. Not what everyone has.

  • OMGgary

    Brand loyalty is stupid. I’ve had (Symbian) Nokias, iPhone, Androids from HTC, Asus and Sony. From that bunch Asus and Sony are, if any, the most likely brands to get return custom, but I’d consider Samsung, though I’m not so keen on physical buttons.

  • EvenInTheDarkestHour

    I like what fits my needs, with benifits. Currently, one brand is hitting more marks than missing. But, were that to change, I would change too. My brand loyalty goes only as far as the company deserves.

  • Interesting article. Personally, I’m working on going completely Nexus, no matter what manufacturer makes it (so long as it’s good, and I expect nothing less from Google). I love my Nexus 4 (was one of the lucky ones to get my order placed back in November…sorry for the bragging, but I had to), and I also have an Asus Transformer Pad 300. My next tablet will almost certainly be a Nexus and my next phone will definitely be a Nexus.

    But, that’s just my personal choice. I will never go Apple, it is too closed and boring for me. Plus, I’ve never been a fan of Apple (I will admit to Apple-bashing), and Android has always been my go to mobile OS. I’m not loyal to any particular manufacturer, but I am definitely loyal to Google. That being said, if Google ever releases a Nexus device (or any device for that matter) that just doesn’t suit my needs or doesn’t appeal to me, I certainly won’t buy it just because it’s from my favorite company.

    People sometimes do go too far with brand loyalty. Look at all the people that hated (and still do) on the Nexus 4, just for the fact that it was made by LG and not Samsung or HTC or Motorola. Many refused to get it just based on that fact, and yet I’m sitting here with my still awesome Nexus 4 made by LG. Greatest phone I’ve ever seen and the best Android experience ever. Who cares if it was made by LG? In fact, I’d probably buy another LG device, whether Nexus or not (although I’d prefer Nexus, of course). I think people need to tone down their brand loyalty sometimes. Just because Samsung makes it doesn’t mean it’s good, and just because LG makes it doesn’t mean it’s bad. Just pick the phone that best suits your needs, whether it’s from your favorite brand or not. Try something new for a change.

    • Mark Mann

      but but but…smart pause!

  • Joshua Hill

    Brand loyalty isn’t important but brand cachet is. I’m more likely to buy a Sony than an LG because of their reputations.

    Having said that it is only a minor consideration as the reliability of most high end devices is good these days.

  • nishantsirohi123

    The Brand Cache (perceived quality) of any brand is a bad thing

    Take sony for example, people swear about their camera quality but just read the camera section in the reviews of all their recent devices(inlcuding xperia z, ion, SL and ZL) and they all have disappointing cameras, while samsung on the other hand have had great cameras even in mid range devices to all the way to S4.

    While HTC users have complaint far more quality issues in terms of components (I work in an IT firm where phones are allowed inside the premise)

    Iphone users may claim their devices work “flawlessly” but the limitations in functionality apart, i have seen apps crashing on iphones, especially games which fail to open in first attempt(although the device does not “hang”)

    Do some research, read reviews and think about what you want.
    I have seen girls in my office having purchased the ginormous galaxy grand(just hate that screen) and now have seen them drop the device or struggling to use it with one hand

    for some finding cases and accessories for the device is a main priority, some don’t care about the camera(my wife), while for some it is all about the music

    my personal device

    I played with galaxy note and realised it is too big for me while a screen smaller than 4 inches is too small for me

    i do not play music on my phone(i have a philips GoGear for that), although internet access, taking pictures, watching viceos and using custom launchers and wallpapers is what i do all the time

    started with the LG optimus one(still have the nostalgia)

    then bought a samsung Galaxy R (after a year)

    now thinking of buying

    either an s3 or nexus4 (cant stretch my budget beyond it)

    • SeraZR™

      Nexus 4 hands down~!

    • adrian strozier

      No your not a Samsung “fanboy”. You read the review and you still think that Samsung is the king of devices. Sony devices actually have good cameras same as HTC and Nokia but people ignore them for what? Because bias reviews hype on Samsung too much.

  • sourabh

    the brand i will forever be loyal to is ANDROID.no other mobile OSes even come close to what it offers.any brand which offers a good android phone is okay for me. im not loyal to HTC or samsung or LG.

  • Robert Crosby

    Money is not the only thing to Samsung they always push innovation forward “hence” bendable OLEDS which Samsung be the first to perfect it in a design.
    Apple IDK, is innovation powered by failure?

  • adrian strozier

    I agree 100% too many people are getting caught up with the name and not with the device can offer you. I sport Sony and the only reason I haven’t abandon them and jumped on the Samsung bandwagon is because Samsung has never offered me anything that suits my needs. And I can’t stand plastic devices they just feel cheap to me. Again that is just my opinion.

  • Mark Mann

    i’m not loyal to any one brand, i happen to like motorola’s build quality, htc is catching up, but i can’t stand sense, my last experience with LG(enV2) was a bad one, but i’d buy a nexus 4 just to give them a shot in the smartphone world…i’ll never own another samsung phone, their customer service is a joke…

  • Ramin Nemati

    I’m using android and that is awesome for me,because that give me whatever i need and I expect from my smartphone,and the best company is who tells facts to his customers.

  • rabidhunter

    Give me a great experience at a competitive price and I will be happy. I’m not into brands as much as I am into devices that fit into my budget.

  • Rana

    Samsung Galaxy series…

    Currently using S2, S3… Next purchase. Note III