A foldable phone by any other name may not sound as sweet. Samsung has already shown off the foldable Galaxy phone on stage and confirmed it’ll come in the first half of 2019 — but it doesn’t yet have a real name.
There are at least four rumored front-runners, including the Galaxy X, Galaxy F, Galaxy Flex and Galaxy Fold. Samsung, unsurprisingly, did not respond to my request for a heads-up on the official name (it would like to keep that a surprise). But one of these candidates is undeniably the worst.
Samsung should definitely not choose “Galaxy F.” In the US at least, “F” is for “fail,” the lowest grade a person or thing can get. And no product wants to be linked to failure, or to “the F word.” The mind just doesn’t leap to “foldable” or “fantastic.”
Any product marketer will tell you that names matter. Brands can spend hundreds of hours on market research to select the right name that conveys the right message to buyers. Pick wrong and you might fail to connect with your desired demographic or worse, offend them in their native land and language.
Both negative connotations for “Galaxy F” would open up Samsung to endlessly creative criticism akin to the worst online bullying, especially if the foldable phone turns out to be anything other than “s” for “stellar.” (For the record, the “S” in Galaxy S stands for “Super Smart.”)
Samsung’s Galaxy-something is already building up plenty of buzz as the first foldable phone by a household brand. Foldable phones are expected to change the way that people use their devices by giving you a larger screen surface in a small enough package to carry around. Samsung is moving quickly to get its product on sale ahead of rivals.
But chances are high that Samsung’s foldable phone won’t knock it out of the park on its initial attempt.
As one of the first of its kind, this foldable phone and others face staggering challenges in how they’re designed and how well the apps work with a bendable body.
“I can’t stress this enough, this is a beta product,” said Stephen Baker, VP of industry analysis at NPD Group. “All these problems should be expected and anticipated, and as the first version this is an early adopter product for consumers who like to be on the bleeding edge.”
A better name for a foldable phone
Samsung’s naming dilemma is extra potent because the expected reveal of its foldable Galaxy phone comes at a time when the tech giant will also unveil the Galaxy S10.
That model will have a more traditional glass slab look and feel that should appeal to the mass market, but Samsung will likely show off a fully working version of its foldable phone to add drama to the event and to underscore Samsung’s ability to keep innovating, even a decade on. More