While Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Flip 4 will likely arrive later this year, Samsung’s folding phone plans will not end with these two advanced phones. A new report claims that the phone manufacturer is planning on cheaper alternatives as well, as it looks to expand its dominance in the market for folding phones.
The report from Korea’s ETNews (opens in new tab) claims that Samsung wants to develop collapsible devices that release some of the premium features found on the Fold and Flip models in favor of a lower price tag. Samsung is reportedly aiming for folding devices with a price tag below 1 million won – that would be less than $ 800 in the US
While Samsung currently dominates best folding phones market, it does so only with very expensive devices. This is contrary to the strategy that has helped Samsung reach the top of the overall smartphone market – it offers the Galaxy S flagship, but there are also cheaper Samsung phones. In fact, as the ETNews article notes, Samsung’s mid-range Galaxy A phones sell more than the Galaxy S flagship.
And that’s why Samsung reportedly wants to make the equivalent of the Galaxy A series for the Galaxy Z Fold and Galaxy Z Flip. A series of phones, like this year Galaxy A53 offers less powerful processors and reduced camera hardware so they can be sold for hundreds of dollars less than the phone manufacturer’s flagship. The A53 costs $ 449, for example, which is a $ 350 discount from Galaxy S22.
The ETNews report is in line with previous comments Samsung has made about expanding its collapsible phone line. In early 2021, Samsung Electronics President TM Roh outlined the company’s goals for its phone business, which included extend their presence in folding phones. To that end, Roh said Samsung wanted to make folding devices more “accessible” to a wider audience – which many people found more affordable.
So how does Samsung get there? If the idea is to follow the Galaxy A playbook, it would definitely be appropriate to turn to cheaper components for a cheaper folding. Both Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Flip 4 are expected to have Qualcomm’s state of the art Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 system-on-chip. A more affordable foldable would probably be a less powerful chipset.
But producing an affordable folding phone that also appeals to a wider audience also means tackling two of the biggest issues around folding devices – durability and battery life. Samsung seems to be addressing the former with a new hinge design on its upcoming folding devices that will probably help the phones weigh less and leaves less visible folds on the part of the screen where the devices fold. Improvements in the design of Samsung’s foldable devices can work their way down to cheaper devices.
Battery life is more of an enduring problem. Neither the Galaxy Z Fold 3 nor the Galaxy Z Flip 3 impressed us with their ability to hold a charge for a long time. Z Flip 3’s battery life was actually so bad that it was easily our least favorite thing with an otherwise solid phone. It is rumored that Samsung will address this in the upcoming versions with the more energy-efficient Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset. But it would have to come up with a different solution for all the cheaper collapsible items it wants to produce.
The company has some time to sort out all this. The ETNews report claims that Samsung will not send any of its cheaper folding models until 2024. In the meantime, keep an eye out for the launch of Galaxy Z Fold 4 / Galaxy Z Flip 4 which is planned for August.
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