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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold could get name change — thanks to Russian invasion

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
(Image credit: Future)

Samsung's lineup of foldable phones could be getting a new name when updated models arrive this year. And current events could be the reason.

Leaker Ishan Agarwal tweeted (opens in new tab) that some European countries are now selling the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3 without the Z in their name. Instead, the foldables are now listed as the Galaxy Fold 3 and Galaxy Flip 3. XDA-Developers (opens in new tab)reports that the change appears in countries like Estonia and Latvia.

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There's no official explanation for the sudden name change — and on Samsung's U.S. website, the Z remains in place for both the Fold and the Flip — but the speculation is that Eastern European countries are dropping the Z so as not to conjure up any connection with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

Russian armies have used the letter Z as a military marking, and it's since been adopted by Russian officials and Russian nationalists as a symbol of support for the Ukrainian invasion. With Russia's military attack earning near-global condemnation, you can understand why a company like Samsung might want to avoid anything that could evoke the invasion — especially in countries in close proximity to the shooting.

While the movement away from the Galaxy Z name appears limited for now, it does raise questions as to whether Samsung might consider a new name for the upcoming versions of its foldables. Both the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Flip 4 are rumored to be in the works for a late summer release, giving Samsung a window for simply dropping the Z from the name.

After all, "Fold" and "Flip" seem to be the more critical parts of the phones' respective names, as those terms describe how the foldables actually work. (The Galaxy Fold opens like a book to reveal a larger screen inside, while the Galaxy Flip looks like a flip phone of old.) The "Z" part of the name is actually superfluous and creates a name that doesn't really roll off the tongue.

Then again, the name of Samsung's upcoming foldables probably won't crack the list of most interesting changes that Samsung has in the works. The Galaxy Z Fold 4 — or Galaxy Fold 4, if you like — is rumored to be getting a built-in stylus, just the S Pen Samsung added to the Galaxy S22 Ultra. The Fold 4's screen could be upgraded to a more stylus-friendly design as well, while Samsung looks to improve the under-display camera that debuted on last year's phone.

Rumors about the Galaxy Z Flip 4 are less definitive at this point, though we'd expect a new chipset and, hopefully, an improvement upon the lackluster battery life that's the biggest flaw of the Flip 3. Rumors suggest an under-display camera similar to the one on the Galaxy Fold could be in the works, too.

Both new phones are expected to arrive this August, which is when Samsung traditionally holds an Unpacked event introducing new devices for the fall. Whether the foldables will be accompanied by that suddenly controversial Z remains to be seen.

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.