In with Galaxy S20, out with the Galaxy S11? This is Samsung’s chance to shake up the brand

Samsung’s subsequent phone is probably not referred to as the Galaxy S11 in spite of everything.

Angela Lang/CNET

Samsung can credit score the Galaxy S line with securing its place because the world’s high smartphone model. But after greater than a decade, rumors say the corporate is nearly actually shaking up the best way it names its Galaxy S gadgets. The Galaxy S11 could become the Galaxy S20, with subsequent yr’s phone going by the title Galaxy S21 and so forth, to match the calendar yr.

Sure cannot anticipate 2051.

As a author, I believe that names matter. No, not as a lot because the specs contained in the phone, however sufficient that they will convey what a model is about. It is not simply me, both: corporations spend thousands and thousands of {dollars} on focus teams and advertising methods when selecting a phone title.

A month away from Samsung’s Unpacked event on Feb 11, I’m unsure whether or not this proposed naming conference is nice or unhealthy. I’m not satisfied that Samsung would persist with the plan to call its phone after the yr, and if it does, it might be a missed alternative for the model to rededicate the phone as memorable and artistic.

Let’s think about a number of choices. Say Samsung follows within the footsteps of Apple’s iPad (e.g. iPad 2019) and most automotive producers by matching every phone title with the corresponding yr. There’s some logic to this technique — you will at all times know the place you might be with a Samsung Galaxy S23, and I welcome bringing a bit of order to a portfolio brimming over with Galaxy phones

I’m positive it is also cheaper and simpler for manufacturers to not have to fret about discovering a novel title that resonates with the general public in a number of languages, and that additionally is not already earmarked by rivals.

On the opposite hand, the numbering recreation tends to really feel unruly and meaningless, particularly once you get into the upper digits. Would Samsung actually decide to this plan lengthy sufficient to achieve the Galaxy S51, assuming we nonetheless use telephones by then and never chips implanted into our arms? 

The time to reinvent the model is now

If Samsung thinks it hit a pure restrict after the Galaxy S10 and needs to brighten up the franchise, I’d be pleased if it used the second to reinvent the model with a brand new title that stands for an up to date set of values. (Of course, we do not know what Samsung will really do till its huge reveal.)

For an instance, look no additional than the iPhone X. Apple appeared to have modified the title when it unveiled a brand new sort of iPhone, one which overhauled the design, eliminated the fingerprint scanner and boldly adopted face unlock with an method that had by no means earlier than been utilized in a phone. Apple pronounced the mannequin iPhone “Ten”, however many individuals referred to it because the iPhone “Ex”.

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And then Apple ruined it by shifting on to the iPhone 11 two years later. At some level, the iPhone’s title goes to have to vary once more, as a result of in my thoughts anyway, the iPhone 18, 21 and 34 appear too ridiculous to exist. I’m reminded of each Mission: Impossible reboot, or that basic line from a pretend newscast in Spaceballs (the film, not the flame thrower), “Rocky V…thousand.”

I suppose the guts of my pondering is that a part of me misses the extra fanciful names of a decade in the past and extra, when a phone title stood for some intrinsic worth or function that the system possessed, just like the highly effective and mysterious Samsung Omnia, or the zesty, flippy Motorola Citrus. (I’ll in all probability by no means forgive the LG Chocolate music phone for having nothing to do with precise chocolate.)

There’s a profit to giving a phone a significant title. Just have a look at Android OS. Google was in a position to achieve a vastly invested Android following that avidly adopted and excitedly guessed every year’s dessert-themed code title… till the fun ended this year with Android 10. While dry names have not damage the iPhone’s success, Samsung has an opportunity to be extra significant. 


A leaked picture of the Samsung Galaxy S20? Check out that new digicam design.

XDA Developers

If the S20 does certainly mark a brand-new course — 5G, a brand new digicam philosophy, and daring design — then a brand new title is sensible. I simply hope it is extra attention-grabbing than “S20.” 

I concede to being within the minority right here. Today, easy phone (and OS) naming appears to principally be about sustaining order amidst the chaos — as a lot to maintain fashions clear on the gross sales and distribution finish, I believe, as for retaining a sea of variants straight in prospects’ minds. 

Then once more, there’s such a factor as an excessive amount of simplicity. I cringe simply interested by the Motorola Moto G, which at one level had not less than three totally different fashions going by the identical title with totally different carriers. Even Motorola’s PR crew did not instantly know which was which till we in contrast the specs.

Of course, when all is alleged and finished, it is these specs that matter most. The manner {that a} phone works is much extra necessary than the way it rolls off the tongue, and that is the place corporations ought to completely spend their time and a focus. 

Would a phone’s inside workings sound as tempting by some other title? Sure, but when it got here right down to the Samsung Galaxy Sonic and the Samsung Galaxy S28, I do know which one I’d need extra.

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