A new champion has arrived
The history of smartphones is riddled with absolutely awful phone names. The Acer Liquid Zest Plus, the HTC ChaCha, the LG G8X ThinQ, the iPhone 11 Pro Max, the Sony Xperia 1 II. And of course, the legendary Samsung Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch, a breathtaking display of buzzwords, numbers, and letters that somehow form the full name of one of 2011’s better Android phones.
But almost nine years to the day, there is a new champion for all-time worst Android phone name: the newly announced Verizon Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition 5G Ultra Wideband (or the S20 FE 5G UW, for short).
Taken individually, each piece of the name does make some sense. “Verizon,” the carrier that will be selling the exclusive variant of the phone. “Samsung,” the manufacturer. “Galaxy,” the branding Samsung uses for its consumer hardware. “S20,” the sub-brand for its 2020 flagship smartphones. “5G,” because Samsung started to add the networking standard label into product names last year and still hasn’t stopped, even with the entire S20 line supporting it.
Things start to break down with “Fan Edition,” the particular name that Samsung has assigned to this cheaper iteration of its phone. It’s a moniker that Samsung has used before to sell leftover refurbished Galaxy Note 7 devices following the infamous exploding battery incident in 2016. It’s an odd thing to remind users of, to be totally honest.
Lastly, there’s the Ultra Wideband / UW label, which isn’t some indication that this phone is trying to make an anime smiley emoticon. Rather, it’s a label slapped on at the end to indicate support for Verizon’s mmWave 5G network — which the company brands as “Ultra Wideband” 5G, because nothing is ever simple when it comes to branding. That UW label appears on many Verizon 5G phones in particular because mmWave support is still pretty rare on many 5G devices, requiring device manufacturers to create bespoke (and often pricier) models exclusively for Verizon, which currently only offers mmWave 5G.
It’s been a long journey to get to this point of a new name champion — nearly as long as it takes to say Verizon Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition 5G Ultra Wideband out loud. But if the history of smartphones is anything to go by, it’ll only be a matter of time before some other, even longer, more ridiculous phone arises to take the crown.