Last year, instead of launching the usual Galaxy NOTE series of phones as Samsung had done for a long time, they launched two foldable devices: the Galaxy Z Flip3 and the Galaxy Fold3.
It seemed like a weird decision – not only killing the NOTE line but also pushing the new form factor of ‘weird-looking’ devices. However, it is proving to be paying off in many ways. More people across the world are now considering and even using the new phones as their daily drivers.
Like many years ago when Samsung pioneered the move to huge screen phones with their NOTE devices, it may currently seem like Foldables are a crazy idea. People saw no need for larger screens, yet here we are.
Samsung has insisted on pushing the new format. They’ve made ads, they’ve bettered their hinges, made ‘glass fold’, cut prices, and much more. They even have a whole series name called the Galaxy Z Line. They must really believe that the time for rectangular candy bar smartphones is over.
I really questioned the decision to kill the NOTE line and focus on the new form factor. However, having used the Galaxy Z Flip3 as my daily driver for a while, my mind has not only changed on how usable, likeable and convenient it is to have such a folding device, but also how mainstream it could become.
The allure remains the fact that it folds. It doesn’t add or take away anything else you get from a normal phone apart from the folding aspect. And while that sounds boring, it is a good start off point – especially given its price compared to the Fold3.
Over time, with more uptake, and more research we will surely see not only more affordable foldables, but different designs and form factors. Samsung will hopefully be leading the way given the money and time they’ve put into everything.
With reports of the sale of over 1 million Samsung foldable devices in South Korea within 39 days of launch, you must agree the new form factors are headed on becoming mainstream. According to Tom’s Guide, the Fold3’s uptake is 5x more than the last generation. Meanwhile, the Flip3’s uptake is 40x higher than before.
The only hurdle to acquisition remains the fact that these phones are expensive. We expect this hurdle to go away over time with more players joining the market.
We’ve seen OPPO announce the Find N, a similar concept to the Fold3 but way more appealing, and more affordable. We can be sure we will be seeing a lot more of such copy-cat devices in the coming years. That competition will push prices down, and increase uptake.
Samsung must have a card up its sleeves. They need to ensure they remain at the top when the foldable segment goes mainstream.
Before that, however, they can sit pretty knowing they’ve once again introduced a different way of looking at smartphones.