With the market gearing up for an onslaught of foldable smartphones from various companies, Samsung Electronics (KRX:005930) seems to be a step ahead of the rest. While companies like Huawei and Motorola are working towards big releases for their respective foldable smartphones, Samsung has already started working on two more besides Galaxy Fold – the first ever foldable smartphone the company showcased recently at MWC Barcelona 2019! And what’s even more surprising is the fact that two foldable smartphones will not be similar to the Galaxy Fold. Instead, similarities can be drawn between the new designs and their current competing products. Let us look at it with a bit more detail.
According to Bloomberg, Samsung is working on two different variants of the foldable smartphone other than its Galaxy Fold. While the Galaxy Fold operates like a book, folding inwards, it is not the case with the other two. One of the designs is the complete opposite of this, folding outwards. The display will be on the exterior of the smartphone. Since it has no extra screen, it can be expected to be thinner than the Galaxy Fold. Similarities with this design can be drawn with Huawei’s Mate X, which employs a similar mechanism.
The other design that the South Korean giants are working on employs a mechanism similar to that of the flip phone. Unlike the Galaxy Fold, it folds vertically. The foldable display will be included in the interior of the phone. This design draws comparisons with the foldable smartphone idea that Motorola intends to release, which looks like a reversed Razr flip phone.
With regards to the release date, Samsung’s foldable flip smartphone is expected to be announced earlier than the outwardly foldable smartphone. While the former can be expected to be announced later this year or early next year, the latter will be released after that. Therefore, we may expect a potential 2020 release for Samsung’s outwardly foldable smartphone.
Samsung Foldable Smartphones: Pricing and technology
It is too early to predict the demand for foldable smartphones in the market. Samsung’s decision to price tag its Galaxy Fold with $1,980 has had mixed reviews. With regards to the two upcoming foldable smartphones, there’s no reason to expect any drop in pricing. Instead, we might even see an increase in their price depending on the manufacturing costs. The biggest example regarding this is Huawei’s Mate X, which has been priced at around $2600. With one of the designs drawing comparisons with Mate X, the pricing of the same can become interesting.
Samsung is expected to include the ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensing technology earmarked for the upcoming Galaxy S10 series.
The need for the development of foldable smartphones
Samsung’s decision to work on two additional versions of a foldable smartphone can be comprehended easily in the current scenario. The first and the major reasons that Samsung is pushing itself this far is that the largest smartphone maker in the world is losing customers to its Chinese competitors. Despite leading the global smartphone shipments in Q4 2018, it is easy to see that its competitors are catching up. The extravagant foldable smartphones are its attempt to woo its customers back.
The second reason can be attributed to the immense potential that the foldable smartphone industry has. It is expected that this year the foldable smartphones will capture 1% share of the flexible display market, and it will grow to a significant 12% by 2022. With almost all major smartphone manufacturers trying out their hand in the same, it is difficult to imagine who will be achieving dominance in the industry.
Samsung is trying to cement its dominance with more offerings than its competitors. Estimating production of almost 1 million foldable smartphones this year, Samsung seems to be betting heavily in this prospective market. Should they succeed, they may enjoy a dominance similar to that enjoyed by Apple in the smartwatch market.