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What's in a phone name anyway?

Nine times out of 10, the least important thing about a phone is what it's called. That said, words matter. (Take these cringe-worthy examples of global marketing gone wrong.) When you consider the sheer volume of dollars spent researching a compelling name for a device, and then millions more on marketing the product, a name takes on much more weight -- especially if it's really, really bad.

Editors' note: This gallery is updated frequently.

Published:Caption:Photo:Angela Lang/CNET
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Lenovo Phab 2 Pro

Like the Changhong H2, Lenovo's biggest problem with the Phab 2 Pro was hiding the phone's quite significant accomplishment -- it was the first phone with Google's Tango AR software onboard -- behind a ludicrously forgettable name.

Published:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

Royole FlexPai

Royole, a maker of flexible screens and electronic note-taking gadgets, beat Samsung to its foldable phone. Good for them. The FlexPai, however, is a terrible name. "Flex" calls out to the bendable screen, but what's a "pai" (pronounced "pie")? A coin from India? Payload Analytical Integration? At least something like "FlexPhone" makes sense.

Published:Caption:Photo:Angela Lang/CNET
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iPhone XS

That's right, people. I went there. Apple has compounded confusion on top of confusion with the iPhone XS. In 2018, most people I know call the phone the "ex ess," a few the "ten ess." Apple's naming problem post-iPhone X was already hairy, but now it's positively tangled. To wit, what will Apple call next year's iPhones?

Published:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET

Anything 'ThinQ'

That's "thin-kyoo," not "think," despite the fact that LG highlights the use of AI in its new ThinQ line of phones. So far, that includes the LG G7 ThinQ, LG V35 ThinQ and LG V40 ThinQ, which I mentally think of as the G7, V35 and V40, because why wouldn't I? ThinQ's a crowd.

Published:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+

Once again, Samsung devised a perfectly good phone with a tongue-twister name. Released alongside the Galaxy Note 5, we couldn't blame people for referring to the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ as the Note 6 Plus, a phone that never existed. And yes, that really happened.

Published:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET

Changhong H2

Calling your phone the Changhong H2 is the perfect way to help everyone forget what your phone actually does. In this case, that's using sensors to scan the caloric load of your lunch.

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Kodak Ektra

The Kodak whattt? Kodak was hearkening back to the name of a previous camera in this camera-meets-phone attempt from 2017, the Kodak Ektra. Even autocorrect thinks it should be called the "Extra."

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Olympic Games Limited Edition

Eight words. That's how long Samsung's preposterous name was for an Olympics-special phone. Good thing it was a private giveaway to athletes and never hit the market.

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OnePlus One, OnePlus 2, OnePlus 3...

We're used to the OnePlus naming scheme now, and the OnePlus 6T is an Editor's Choice pick for 2018. But when it first came out, we couldn't help noticed that a company called OnePlus actually named its phones "One" and "2", and so on. Good one, guys.

Published:Caption:Photo:James Martin/CNET

BlackBerry Priv

BlackBerry's first Android phone, the Priv, struck us as a smarmy amalgamation of "privilege" and "priv-ah-cy," pronounced the British way. This from a company that was known for most of its life as Research in Motion before streamlining the name to BlackBerry, so I guess we're not too surprised.

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ZTE Axon 7

It isn't the Axon name we take issue with, just the fact that ZTE skipped Axons 2 through 6 to arrive at 7. Come on guys, we know you were just trying to keep up with the Galaxy S7 and iPhone 7.

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LG K8 V

The "V" probably stood for Verizon, but the LG K8 V's nonsense name just gave us a bad taste of alphabet soup.

Published:Caption:Photo:Verizon

Motorola Moto G

The only issue with the Motorola Moto G is that after a few years, there were three or four models you could buy at the same time from different carriers, all with the exact same name. If you hadn't memorized the specs, you wouldn't know which one you were looking at. Thankfully, things are clearer in 2018 with the Moto G6, Moto G6 Play and so on.

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Yezz Billy 4.7

In 2014, a Miami-based phone-maker called Yezz sold a Windows Phone called Yezz Billy 4.7, named after -- yep, you guessed it -- Microsoft founder Bill Gates. <wince>

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ZTE Iconic Phablet

It takes a certain kind of chutzpah to name your ultralarge smartphone the ZTE Iconic Phablet, especially since it was pretty meh. This was also the first time a phone maker embraced the word "phablet" in its own product. Luckily, US prepaid carrier Boost Mobile had the good sense to sell it as the Boost Max.

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Panasonic Eluga

2012's Panasonic Eluga was a pretty, middle-of-the-road Android handset sold overseas. But a clunky, meaningless name (what is an "eluga," anyway?) was almost as awkward to say as the phone was to use.

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HTC Windows Phone 8X

Hey, remember that time HTC named an entire phone after the Windows Phone 8X operating system? That'd be like Samsung naming a phone the "Samsung Galaxy Android."

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HP Pre 3

Its terribly rhyming tongue-twister of a name certainly isn't the reason why the HP Pre 3 never made it to the US. Instead, abysmal sales and mismanagement killed WebOS' chances in the mobile platform fight, ending the once-promising Pre line shortly after HP's disastrous purchase of Palm. (P.S. Check out the new tiny Palm for 2018.)

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Samsung Galaxy S II, Epic 4G Touch

Officially the Samsung Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch, Sprint's Galaxy S II variant claimed the dubious honor of having the most long-winded name in cell phone history. By the time it came out on shelves, Sprint had lopped off a few words, making it the much more manageable Samsung Epic 4G Touch. If only T-Mobile had followed suit with its Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G, we'd all have been a little happier.

Published:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET
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HTC ChaCha and HTC Salsa

I'm not sure what would compel a phone company to name devices after popular Latin dances. Apparently, AT&T wasn't, either. The ChaCha, which was first introduced in February 2011, blessedly became the HTC Status when it landed with the US carrier. Unfortunately, the device itself made a few ungraceful moves.

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LG Optimus Vu

There's nothing wrong with calling a large-screen phone the LG Optimus Vu (or Vu 2), just so long as your audience instinctively pronounces it "view" instead of "voo." Verizon scuttled all linguistic ambiguity by titling its version the harmless, but vague, LG Intuition.

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Casio G'zOne... anything

Everything about the name of this phone line was terrible. The apostrophe, the random capitalization, the awkward attempt at pronouncing it without offending your grandma... Oh, and it's pronounced "jeez-WUN," if you were curious.

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Samsung :)

That's not a joke; Samsung actually named a phone after emoji. The Samsung :) has been haunting us since the texting phone materialized in 2010 with its over-the-top alias. And yeah, we called it the "Smiley."

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Samsung Messager

Continuing a particularly disastrous stretch of Samsung product names, the Messager sent ripples of spine-tingling grammatical horror up our spines when it landed 2009. Messenger. E-N. Big difference.

Published:Caption:Photo:James Martin/CNET
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Cricket MSGM8 and TXTM8

Texting was clearly having a moment when Cricket's MSGM8 (message mate) and TXTM8 (text mate) feature phones arrived -- a moment that thankfully passed.

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LG Optimus Black

The LG Optimus Black offended us with its blandness. How desperate do you have to be to shout out the most common phone color there is?

At least in the US, Sprint and Boost Mobile called it the LG Marquee. Much better.

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HTC One

HTC One what? Good phone, with a name that trailed off like... Making matters more confusing were the HTC One X, One X+, One XL, One V, One VX and One S series, never mind the One Mini.

Published:Caption:Photo:Andrew Hoyle/CNET
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LG Chocolate

There is nothing chocolate-like about the LG Chocolate, and it's cruel to suggest otherwise. You want to call out the candy bar shape and smooth, liquid music qualities? Maybe try "LG Musiq" instead.

Published:Caption:Photo:Verizon
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Motorola Citrus

Another food-themed travesty, Motorola's Citrus was a fairly early Android handset in need of a little zest.

Published:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET
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LG Fusic

We had to reach wayyy back into the archives for this gem. We still never figured out if "Fusic" was a fusion of "fun" and "music" or something else entirely, but this flip-top phone from 2006 was one of the first of its kind for Sprint.

Published:Caption:Photo:LG
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