How popular are foldable phones with the launch of the Galaxy Z Flip 3 and Galaxy Z Fold 3 and who is their main competitor? We asked some experts to weigh after the presentation of the devices last week.
Samsung’s recent Unpacked event drew attention to foldable phones, along with releases such as the Galaxy Buds 2 and Samsung Galaxy Watch 4. Since Deputy Editor Max Parker has done a bit of tinkering with them, we can confirm that these could be the most complete foldable devices from Samsung. yet.
Foldable phones are still pretty new and it seems like some companies are promoting more foldable phones every year and brands like Samsung, Microsoft and Motorola are joining the process.
But do people really want a foldable phone? We asked some experts to find out if they think Samsung’s Z Fold 3 will replace the Apple iPhone 12 Pro anytime soon.
Is Samsung doing enough to make foldable devices popular?
“Yes and no. The Z Fold 3 is still expensive and niche at $ 1,800 and is a productivity device. On the other hand, the $ 999 Z Flip 3 now costs the same as a high-end phone and is cheaper than some premium 5G phones, making it affordable for the mainstream, ”Anisha Bhatia, senior analyst at GolbalData, told Trusted Reviews.
“Samsung has made both phones more durable and water resistant, so along with the reduced price of the Z Flip 3, this should drive wider adoption.”
Samsung has been working to improve its foldable phone lineup since 2019, which some experts believe will help bring foldable phone knowledge to more people.
“Companies like Huawei, Alcatel, Microsoft and Royole are all looking at how to reinvent the touchscreen from a decade ago. The fact that Samsung hasn’t changed much of the design and has improved very specific things (IP rating, under-display camera, durability, etc.) hints that Samsung is listening closely to consumers and adapting to bring the offering to market. that meets current (or future) consumer needs, ”Martha Pinto, senior research manager for IDC EMEA, told Trusted Reviews.
“By bringing devices to market on a regular basis, Samsung is building up its knowledge of foldable devices and creating benefits for early adopters. Even if in very small volumes and in very premium price segments, consumer insight and benefits will pay off if foldable designs become the next dominant smartphone design. ”
The two main barriers to foldable phones are cost and durability.
“Priced under £ 1000, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is priced comparable to models already on the market such as the iPhone 12 Pro,” Jack Hamlin, Global Account Manager, Kantar Worldpanel, told Trusted Reviews.
“The IPX8 certification is incredibly impressive as it protects the device from splashes and rapid immersion in water. In addition, Samsung is offering consumers who pre-order the Galaxy Z series a free Samsung Care + service for a year, further mitigating durability concerns. It is very easy to bet against these devices, but at a lower cost, increased durability … I feel they will play a significant role in shaping the future of the foldable category. “
How are things going on the market as a whole?
“Folding devices are a niche market. IDC estimates that fewer than 10 million devices have been sold in this category since 2019 (worldwide). In the second quarter of 2021, this category accounted for 0.4% of total smartphone sales, ”says Pinto.
There is also a bias that foldable phones are less durable and more prone to damage because they fold in half.
“We are still seeing a relatively low rate of adoption of folding devices, judging by the anecdotes I have not seen a single folding device in public,” continues Hamlin.
“Consumers are undoubtedly concerned about the durability of folding devices. There is still a way, notably the lack of a dust certification, a common problem among existing foldable device owners who find dust on the hinges of their devices. ”
Pinto also assumes that companies are aware of the foldable phone issues.
“The high price and technical difficulties associated with replacing screens may scare consumers away, but this will not change the rules of the game. However… the inclusion of Samsung Care as an offer in pre-orders shows that the brand is aware of this potential problem, ”Pinto said.
What impact will Apple have if it enters the foldable market?
“Samsung is clearly establishing itself as a leader in the foldable device market, but it’s notable that competitors like Apple did not feel the need to follow, which raises the question of whether the level of consumer demand justifies the investment,” – Leo Gebbie, chief analyst. Connected devices in CCS Insight reported by Trusted Reviews.
“We believe that foldable devices are still targeting technology enthusiasts and early adopters at this time, and they are far from providing a truly compelling mass market solution.”
Apple does not sell foldable phones at this time and has hinted at looking for a foldable phone market in the near future.
“Apple has a huge installer base. And whenever Apple falls behind a category, it helps the category take off and become mainstream. Apple is slower to adopt new innovations, but when it bets on something, most of the serious flaws are addressed before the product is released, ”says Bhatia.
Pinto also thinks Apple won’t release a foldable until his problems are resolved.
“Apple is said to have patents for foldable displays. And many other brands have already tested this technology. As Apple did with 5G, the brand will introduce a new form factor whenever it aligns with the brand’s strategy and consumers are ready to embrace it, ”Pinto says.
“When the market is ready, other brands will want a piece of this game, and Apple will certainly be ready to compete in this segment as well.”