Samsung has announced a new generation of foldable smartphones as part of its ongoing efforts to bring flexible-screen gadgets into the mainstream.
At its Unpacked virtual event, Samsung unveiled the new Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Flip 4.
The Fold is a traditional-sized smartphone that unfolds like a book to expose a bigger, tablet-sized screen, and the Flip is a smaller device that opens vertically to reveal a nearly 7-inch smartphone display.
The Fold 4 has a significant camera update and now includes the triple camera system featured in Samsung’s flagship S22 handset, as well as a slightly larger cover screen on the exterior and a new PC-style taskbar embedded into the OS to speed up switching between programs.
The two phones will also have longer battery lives, but will be more expensive than last year’s versions.
The Flip 4 has received a relatively modest upgrade, with changes to the tiny cover screen used to read alerts while the device is closed and improved photography functionality when the phone is open, allowing users to adjust the arrangement of the viewfinder and camera settings to acquire different viewpoints.
Samsung still considers the gadgets to be ultra-premium and geared at tech enthusiasts, but it intends to expand the category.
‘With this introduction, we have effectively turned this category from a novel idea to a mainstream product line-up enjoyed by millions of people across the world,’ said Conor Pierce, corporate vice president of Samsung Electronics UK and Ireland.
‘To most customers, the Z Flip4 and Z Fold4 will be nearly indistinguishable from their predecessors. Although Samsung may be chastised for this, it seems reasonable to adopt an evolutionary approach given that foldable devices now account for such a small portion of the overall smartphone market.’ stated James Manning Smith, senior analyst at CCS Insight and an industry specialist.
‘Most often a consumer purchasing one of Samsung’s new gadgets will be doing so for the first time and will have nothing to compare it to,’ says the company.
‘We assume it is still learning a lot about the intricacies of building this new category of devices, and although the phones seem quite similar to previous generations, they have significant enhancements like as increased durability, longer battery life, and multiple user experience upgrades.’
Apple and Google, Samsung’s main smartphone competitors, have yet to release a foldable device.
‘Over the previous three years, Samsung has been the market leader for foldable handsets, and while other Chinese phone companies are now launching competitor devices, Samsung is in a very strong position internationally,’ Smith added.
The Flip 4 will cost £999 (up from £949), while the Fold 4 will cost £1,649 (up from £1,599). Both phones will be available on August 26th.
At the Unpacked event, Samsung also revealed the Galaxy Watch 5, Watch 5 Pro, and a new set of wireless headphones, the Galaxy Buds2 Pro.