Samsung launches 5G foldable smartphones with lower prices

Samsung has launched its 5G foldable smartphones with lower prices than last year’s offerings in a push to expand foldable demand.
Galaxy Z Fold3
The tech giant priced its 5G-enabled Galaxy Z Fold3 with 7.6-inch main screen to start at $1,799.99 in the United States, and clamshell Galaxy Z Flip3 at $999.99 – down from the launch prices of last year’s models at $1,999 and $1,380, respectively.

The Galaxy Z Fold3 and Z Flip3 will launch on August 27 starting in markets such as the United States and Europe.

Foldable phones, with about 8.6 million units expected to be shipped this year, are expected to account for just 0.6 percent of estimated 1.447 billion smartphones to be shipped.

This is more than double the 3 million foldables shipped in 2020, and Samsung will lead the market with over 88 percent market share, according to Counterpoint Research.

This is Samsung’s fourth Unpacked event of the year and a separate one for foldables, highlighting the importance of this innovative category to Samsung’s portfolio.

“Samsung’s two new folding phones, the Z Fold 3 5G and the Z Flip 3 5G, will firmly establish Samsung’s dominance in this advanced category of devices,” Anisha Bhatia, Senior Analyst at GlobalData, said in a statement.

“Phones with folding displays are an integral part of Samsung’s smartphone strategy, and Samsung is on its fourth iteration, gaining an increasing amount of consumer feedback. With Huawei losing its grip on the smartphone market, and no sign of a foldable iPhone, this futuristic segment is open for Samsung’s taking.”

Besides price drops that could help capture demand in the United States and perhaps China, Samsung’s foldable phones unveiled on Wednesday could absorb users of Samsung’s Galaxy Note phablets whose key feature is the S Pen.

Samsung said it is not discontinuing the Note, and mobile chief Koh Dong-jin said in March that the company is preparing a Note product launch for next year.

In order for foldable smartphones to expand beyond niche models, prices of flagship models must drop to around $1,000-1,500, there must be more offerings from firms besides Samsung, and Apple’s entry, which is expected around 2023, would be needed, Counterpoint analysts said in a report this year.

Samsung also unveiled new smartwatches and earbuds with fresh designs and functions. Brisk sales of such high-margin accessories have added to the mobile division’s profitability in recent quarters.