Samsung is expanding the functionality of its foldable devices, but it isn’t addressing what is likely the single biggest turnoff for customers: the exorbitant price.
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Samsung unveiled updates for its tablets, smartwatches, and foldable gadgets on Wednesday at its annual Unpacked event, which was held in South Korea for the first time. All of the devices, however, have undergone just minor modifications, including the customary advancements in screen and processing technology as well as a few extra bells and whistles.
Samsung’s fifth-generation foldable smartphones—the 6.7-inch Z Flip5 that collapses into a 3.4-inch tablet and the 6.2-inch Galaxy Z Fold that unfolds into a 7.6-inch display—were the main focus of the presentation. Both smartphones have more durable batteries, better cameras, and improved designs.
The cost, however, has not changed. Similar to last year and in keeping with other foldable on the market, the Z Flip5 starts at $999.99 and the Z Fold5 starts at $1,799.
Samsung continues to be enthusiastic about the form factor and is without a doubt the market leader for foldable phones. However, despite influencers and celebrities displaying a resurgence in desire for retro flip phones, foldable and flexible displays are still not widely used.
Approximately 600,000 to 13 million foldable devices were shipped globally between 2019 and 2022, according to Counterpoint Research. By 2027, the company predicts that shipments will top 100 million, accounting for nearly 38% of the premium market. But according to industry research firm iDC, there were 1.2 billion cell phones supplied globally in 2017.
The unusually high prices for these devices probably account for a large portion of their lack of popularity. Lowering the cost of foldable could help the sector gain more traction, but due to expensive parts like flexible screens and specially made hinges, manufacturers might find it difficult to do so any time soon.
The Z Flip now has a cover screen that is about four times larger than the previous model, according to Samsung (SSNLF), which claims that it accounts for around two-thirds of all shipments of foldable phones. Users now have more room to choose what displays at the top, including new clocks, expanded access to widgets, a full keyboard, and the ability to shoot selfies.
The Galaxy Z Flip5 also upgrades its camera system with AI, enabling sharper shots with a 10X zoom and the ability to remove visual noise in addition to utilizing updated Nightography features from Samsung to improve images and videos taken in low light. Additionally, it has a better hinge.
Bottom Line – The Prices Would Drop Eventually
According to Drew Blackard, vice president of mobile product management at Samsung, pricing will come down and foldable handsets will eventually replace flagship models.
“I think you tend to see prices start to drop as the product lines and categories get to that maturity level,” he told CNN before the event. We continue to believe that these items are at the cutting edge of innovation.
Samsung must, however, persuade customers to pay up for the time being.