Samsung isn’t the only company making foldable smartphones, but it’s certainly the leading player. Huawei, Motorola, and Xiaomi have launched or unveiled their own foldable devices already, and Lenovo made a foldable laptop. Other smartphone makers released dual-screen handsets (Microsoft and LG), rollable phones (Oppo and LG), and showed off foldable concepts of their own.
But Samsung was the first mainstream smartphone maker to reveal a foldable handset, and the first to launch two different form-factors. Several reports claim that Samsung wants to increase foldable phone sales significantly. Its recent moves show that the company is looking to make foldable phones more affordable to interested buyers. But a new rumor indicates that Samsung doesn’t have any exciting foldable surprises in store for 2021.
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Samsung said a few weeks ago that the current chip crisis might force it to cancel this year’s Galaxy Note 21. But the chip shortage might really just be the “perfect storm” for Samsung to kill the Note line without many questions. Various rumors claimed in the past that the Note brand is dying and might be replaced by foldables.
Samsung has not announced any new foldable devices this year, choosing instead to offer extensive trial periods for the existing Galaxy Z Flip and Z Fold 2. We would have expected the new Z Flip 2 to launch in the first half of the year, with the Z Fold 3 set for the second half.
According to SamMobile, the two phones are coming this year, and they will both launch in the second half of 2021. But Samsung will not unveil a third foldable form-factor this year or a cheaper Galaxy Z Fold.
Samsung has an abundance of design patents for foldable devices, including one that shows a dual-foldable handset that would feature two hinges and three display sides. Samsung also patented a foldable tablet design. As always with patent documentation, the technology innovations that companies want to protect might not always be used in commercial products.
A different rumor said a few months ago that Samsung was also working for a more exciting Galaxy Z Fold version. The “Lite” variation would help Samsung lower the entry price for the handset and lure in more buyers who aren’t comfortable paying nearly $2,000 for a high-end Fold. The Lite would launch alongside the more expensive Z Fold upgrade.
That doesn’t appear to be the case. But Samsung might not even need a Lite version of its foldables. As it introduces new models, it could drop the prices of the current Z Flip and Z Fold 2. Samsung already cut the Z Fold 2’s price a few days ago, when it launched an extended trial promo in the UK — a similar promotion was available to US buyers until a few days ago. That way, it could sell more affordable foldables alongside the brand new models, which would probably be priced between $1,500 and $2,000. The arrival of Xiaomi’s first foldable will help in that regard, as the Chinese smartphone maker has a very aggressive price for its high-end foldable, which will put additional pressure on Samsung.
That said, SamMobile doesn’t say when Samsung will launch its 2021 foldable handsets. The likeliest scenario is for Samsung to host an Unpacked event in August, which would have been the new Note’s traditional press conference.
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