Samsung launched two new products on August 11, 2021, both of them aimed at capturing the attention of those who want more for less. Two new phones, both of them featuring the new folding screen, at lower price points than Samsung’s previous foldable phones.
The smartphone giant, the Apple iPhone’s chief competitor, introduced foldable screens in 2019. Despite a great deal of corporate hype, 2020 saw only 2 million of them shipped, just a tiny percentage over the over 1.2 billion smart phones that shipped that year. Nearly one out of every seven humans bought a new smartphone in 2020, enough that there was a global microchip shortage, but Samsung fold barely managed to catch a scrap of that market.
“What has really been holding back the mass consumption of these foldable devices is the high price,” said analyst Nabila Popal of the research firm International Data Corp. “Most people really don’t see the need for it. At least nothing that justifies forking out an additional thousand dollars.”
The Galaxy Fold3, a phone which unfolds into a 7.6-inch tablet, will sell for $1,800, nearly $200 less than its predecessor, the Fold2. The Galaxy Flip3, a clamshell-style flip phone which opens into a 6.7-inch display, will retail for $1,000.
The prices for both are still significantly higher than for comparable non-folding smartphones, so Samsung’s new brand direction still has an uphill climb.
Another obstacle is that relatively few apps are designed to take advantage of the folding screens. The company boasts that “nearly 50” of the top 100 mobile apps can be used in both the folded and unfolded formats, but that percentage drops off rapidly in apps made by smaller developers.
As hard as Samsung is trying to set a new trend in phones, it doesn’t seem to be catching on yet. Time will tell for their newest phones at their ‘lower’ price points.
Photo by photo952 / Shutterstock.com