Samsung Unveils Latest Versions of Galaxy Z Foldable Phones

Kimberly Redmond  |

Video source: YouTube, Washington Post

Samsung Electronics Co announced two cheaper but more durable versions of its foldable phones, tweaks that it hopes will make the devices more appealing to consumers and eventually help it take a bigger chunk of the overall smartphone market.

On Wednesday, the South Korean electronics giant unveiled two new phones with folding screens, including a model priced just below $1,000 for the first time ever.

The larger Galaxy Z Fold3 will start at $1,799, a 10% drop from last year’s model, while the Galaxy Z Flip3 will begin at $999, more than 25% below last year’s price.

The devices, now in their third generation, are also equipped with more durable glass and water resistance to reduce the chances of getting damaged, Samsung said.

The company released its first foldable phones in 2019, but the high-concept design has yet to catch on with consumers.

Analysts told The Associated Press the “mass consumption of foldable devices” is being held back by its high price and doubts over whether or not foldable phones can withstand the wear and tear that smartphones typically endure.

The newly-announced lower prices are still too far above what most are willing to shell out for a phone, analysts also said.

Samsung, meanwhile, believes it is “finally at that price point” where “we can take these mainstream,” Drew Blacknard, Samsung Electronics America’s vice president of mobile product management, told CNET.  

Of the 1.3 billion smartphones shipped worldwide last year, only 2 million of those devices were foldable phones, according to a report from research firm International Data Corp (IDC). This year, IDC projects an increase to 4 million foldable units shipped.

IDC also noted that while foldable models “continue to improve in design, durability and functionality” the high cost will “be a deterrent in the near term.” 

“The gradual decline in prices as more models come to market will be a key driver of growth for the entire category,” IDC said.  “Moreover, if Apple does join the foldable game…it will undoubtedly bring increased excitement and mass awareness to the category in a way that only Apple can.”

Apple Inc maintains the dominant share in the US — where most people own either an iPhone or Samsung smartphone — but Samung’s share of shipments is increasing, according to recent data from Counterpoint Research

According to CNBC, Samsung usually releases its new high-end phones in August in order to get its latest flagship devices on the market before Apple’s newest iPhones, which typically launch in September. 

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