The top 5 worst-named products of IFA 2012

Naming tech hasn't been the industry's strong suit at this year's IFA tech trade show. We pick out five howlers.

It's a well known fact that tech companies can't be trusted to name their own products, often opting for either a hard-to-pronounce-but-not-yet-copyrighted word, or sometimes just settling for a meaningless string of letters and numbers. When it comes to naming gadgets not even Apple can get it right -- this year releasing a product that any sensible shopper knows as the iPad 3, but that the company officially dubs the 'new iPad'.

This year's IFA tech trade show has been a particularly bad week for tech nomenclature, so brace yourself for five of the worst-named products to emerge from the show.

1. Samsung Ativ Smart PC Pro

Where to begin? Samsung has introduced the 'Ativ' brand, presumably because it realised that 'Galaxy' was just too simple, pleasant and easy to remember, and needed to redress the balance. Is it 'at-ivv'? 'Ah-teev'? 'Ay-tiv'? It's impossible to know, and less possible to care.

Samsung says 'Ativ' spelled backwards is Vita , which is Latin for thumbstick life, as if that's some kind of explanation. You can't just spell things backwards Samsung, that's not the way words work!

The ' Smart PC Pro ' bit is just the icing on the cake, really. Perhaps the 'Ativ' name is a subtle attempt to undermine the success of Windows 8 , to get back at Microsoft for deciding to make its own tablet.

2. ZTE Grand X IN

'Grand' is a nice name. 'Grand X' sounds like the alias of a hacker granddad.

Really though, the problem here is the 'IN' at the end. Why is it there? Because this smart phone has an Intel processor. Really. As if there are shoppers stood in Carphone Warehouse looking at a sign for this phone and making that mental connection between two uppercase letters and a chip manufacturer, and then going one step further and being even the slightest bit bothered which manufacturer's processor is powering a phone.

Meanwhile there's another Intel smart phone out there, and it's called the Orange San Diego. Specs aside, which would you rather tell people you owned?

3. Huawei MediaPad 10 FHD

Another instance of suffixes gone awry. 'MediaPad' is obviously not a good name, but at least it's made up of two real words.

The '10' meanwhile refers to the fact that this Android tablet has a 10.1-inch screen and -- again -- that's okay, it makes more sense than Samsung's Galaxy Tab/ Note 10.1 in the name stakes anyhow (as if without the '.1' potential Samsung buyers would be eyeing the tablet nervously and saying things like, "It's good, but I wish the screen was one tenth of an inch bigger").

No, the issue here is with 'FHD'. Can you guess what it means? It means 'Full HD', because the tablet has a 1,920x1,200 pixel resolution. Obviously. As a fun experiment, imagine telling a loved one that you'd just purchased this tablet, and try to picture their face when they hear the name.

4. Huawei Ascend D1 Quad XL

Good grief! A shameful second entry for Huawei -- this smart phone epitomises the problem with tech naming. Why? Because every individual aspect of this name represents something that made sense at one point. The 'Quad' means it's quad-core, the 'XL' means it has a bigger battery (though that's not in the slightest big obvious), while the 'D1' means it's an altered version of a previous smart phone -- one that we saw earlier this year.

The Ascend D1 Quad XL, like its name, is the product of constant, gradual alteration and re-release, and serves as a grim reminder that so much consumer technology is just that -- a slightly tweaked version of last year's model, the latest in a cycle doomed to repeat year on year with dull predictability. Actually, thinking about it, maybe 'new iPad' isn't such a bad name after all...

5. Sony KD-84X9005

What is the Sony KD-84X9005 ? Good question! It is, in fact, Sony's brand new 84-inch Bravia 4K TV, one of the most exciting -- if not the most exciting -- gadgets on show at IFA. But you wouldn't know it, because Sony's lumbered its new toy with a traditionally baffling TV name, making its headline feature more than a little tricky to identify.

Anyone who's tried to buy a TV recently will know that teasing out the ever-so-subtle differences between, say, the Sony 40HX753 and the Panasonic TX-L47E5B (two actual TVs we've reviewed recently that both cost around £800) is a nightmarish process that leaves everyone unsatisfied.

Rows of insensible numbers and letters do a poor job of communicating what to expect, and serve only to leave would-be buyers with the impressions that all TVs are basically the same, which certainly isn't true.

One to watch: Samsung Galaxy Camera

Samsung Galaxy Camera is a great name, by all accounts, so well done Samsung. The only problem is that it's a bit too basic to be future-proof, so next year's model will invariably end up dubbed the Galaxy Camera 2 or Galaxy Camera S or S2 or Galaxy Camera Mini or Camera Mini Plus or Galaxy Camera 10.1...

Is there a terribly named gadget we've missed from the list? Will we ever see a return to the naming glory days of the HTC Wildfire? Tell me in the comments, or on our Facebook wall.

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About the author

Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.

 

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