Originally published by Jessica Dolcourt at cnet this article tells us why Samsung’s second foldable phone will be interesting and important.
The Galaxy Fold is taking us back to the realms of the tablet, and seems to be paying homage to the adage of “Go big or go home”. The second folding phone that’s due from Samsung, with a rumored name of Galaxy Z Flip, is expected to be smaller, cheaper, foldable along the vertical, and only featuring half of the original’s camera array. The excitement is palpable.
There’s still a feeling of magic and wonder about phones that fold, which you wouldn’t expect Dolcourt to feel after a 14-year career working with cell phones. Just when every type of handset seems to have been imagined; flips, kicks, slides, and circles, along comes a screen that’s strong and thin and can fold all the way in half without breaking. This is very possibly the future of phones.
The original folding phone from Samsung, the Galaxy Fold, had a focus on the premium end of the market and was there to crystallize the brand in the foldables market. In contrast, the Z Flip, which has been known internally as the Galaxy Bloom, is set to be more affordable so as to go up against the Motorola Razr. This new handset will be fully unveiled at the Samsung Unpacked event that’s scheduled for February 11th, and is going to focus more on how practical a folding phone can be.
The Z Flip is set to take Samsung into the lead in the folding phone market, with the premium and large Galaxy Fold and the new, simpler, and smaller-screened device. Having two different offerings gives Samsung two paths into the foldable market to get interest from early adopters. For us, more standard consumers, there are still reasons you should be keeping a watch on the Z Flip, if that’s even its final name, and these reasons go far beyond novelty value.
An ultrathin glass screen is one of the many rumored features on the new Galaxy Z Flip. Big if true. Up to now, foldables have been using plastic screens which are much more likely to sustain damage.
How far is a glass screen realistically going to be able to bend? Getting both sides to sit flush is going to be a challenge. Protecting the electronic display underneath from pressure, scratching, bounces, water, and dust is going to be a challenge that will be interesting to check out.
Buy it to try it
As it stands, the foldable phone market isn’t an assured space. They’re not cheap, they’re not massively practical because they’re fragile, and there aren’t that many to choose from. At this point, it’s not easy to see the path to them dominating the market and taking over from the solid rectangle in your pocket. But, they could work…
As more folding phones come onto the market – meaning both devices sold and devices available to choose from – it’ll become clearer whether they’ll be a success or just a cool toy that some people had for a while. The introduction of the Z Flip should be a good test of the water.
Having a range of options when it comes to design is really important in sector development. Sizes currently range from the Razr that can fit into your pocket, up to 10-inch tablet displays that bends three ways, either as prototypes or commercially viable devices.
There’s going to have to be trial-and-error in the industry to see what designs become popular, how to overcome common themes when it comes to flaws, and identifying the features that consumers actually want out of the folding phone. Only when people are actually using and sometimes breaking them will the companies begin to perfect them.
Right second time
There was a fair amount of embarrassment for Samsung when the Galaxy Fold’s screen flaws made the debut a bit of a flop. The sale date was delayed whilst the phone went through a redesign and production plans were reduced to only have two available colors. The Z Flip offers a second chance to make a good impression.
The design they’re going for is apparently rather different, opting for a vertical flip with a screen that’s not as big as the Fold’s 7.3 inches. Here is where lessons can be learned after the problems previously encountered.
To make sure that the screen is safe and their reputation stays intact, we can expect a tight seal around the fold and display, a tamper-proof cover, and a reinforced OLED display. With fewer cameras expected, there will be a lower price than what the Fold started at, $1,980.
Beauty on the outside
As with the Motorola Razr and Samsung’s own Galaxy Fold, we’re expecting an external display, and the design is hotly anticipated. The Fold and Razr both have a pretty small outside screen so that you can get your notifications and do simple tasks, but little else besides.
The Fold’s exterior screen is 4.6 inches, if the Z Flip is any smaller, there’ll be questions raised about functionality. Is every app still going to work on this display to open up to the full one inside? Will there be some limitations on the functions of the screen?
These questions should all get answered during the debut event.
Getting into pockets
The Fold comes in at $1,980, the new Z Flip should have a much lower price tag.
From the outset, it was made clear that the Galaxy Fold was for the luxury end of the market, which meant the nearly $2,000 price was seen as acceptable. They were telling us that the price was worth it for a device for the future that sits in the tablet space.
The Z Flip is definitely going to be something much different. Rumors are whirling that the cost is going to be around $850; half that of the Motorola Razr and plenty less than half of the Galaxy Fold.
Nothing will be set in stone until the launch. We can be sure that as prices tumble, Samsung and other makers will get more people in the real world to get on board and be their testers. As more people start to use them, the market will learn and adapt to what consumers actually choose to use them for. Will they be in every pocket, or in a display case of tech that could have been?