Skip to main content

Galaxy S 4, Galaxy S4, Galaxy S IV or Galaxy S® 4: How naming Samsung’s flagship smartphone is confusing

There’s a debate raging on Wikipedia at the moment over the way to call the successor of the Galaxy S3 (although the correct way of writing it is S III – note the space and the Roman characters). The follow-ups to the original Galaxy S were called S II and S III while the Galaxy Note was followed by the Note II.

But things have changed (and we won’t take credit for that change). The S4 is not known as the S IV (although some US-based news outlets: Venturebeat, Gizmodo or CBS initially stuck with that naming convention). But we’re inclined to believe that even Samsung employees might have been confused.

On this US registration page (opens in new tab), the Galaxy S4 is written with as “S® 4” and as “S 4”; there’s also a link on the page going to the global Galaxy S4 website (opens in new tab) where, surprise, surprise, the smartphone is listed as S4, without any space or “registered” superscript.

So why did Samsung choose to name the S IV as the S 4 (or S4). We believe that it has everything to do with SEO.

As we noted last year about the S3, “A quick look at Google’s insights for search shows that the users are nearly 10 times more likely to look for the term – “Galaxy S3”, than for the “Galaxy S III”, or the “Galaxy SIII”. This has a very real and noticeable impact on search engine optimisation. Samsung doesn’t come first in search engine results for the term “Galaxy S3”. This means that had the manufacturer opted for that name, it is more than likely that it would have witnessed an increase in the number of visitors.

In the end, common sense prevailed. After all, the least Samsung would want is for its flagship smartphone to be called the Galaxy SeeeeeeV (as in sieve).

Check out our ongoing coverage of the Samsung Galaxy S4, from the very beginning until the launch (and beyond), including the rumours, the rehashed reports, the disappointments and the expectations. You can also read our hands-on of the Galaxy S4 here.

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.