Samsung was the first to release foldable smartphones at scale. Ever since the original Galaxy Fold came out in 2019, the company has made it clear that it views foldables as the future. Samsung expects foldables to account for more than 50% of its flagship sales in just a few years.
There are a number of factors that enabled Samsung to push ahead with this bold idea even while other OEMs have failed to make a mark as yet. No other manufacturer has the kind of vertical integration that Samsung does.
For example, Samsung Electronics gets first dibs on all of the incredible advancements in display technology that Samsung Display makes. Those panels make to Galaxy devices first before Samsung Display thinks about selling them to other manufacturers. This enabled the mobile division to quickly expand its foldable smartphone lineup as Samsung Display continued to improve its foldable panel technology.
The company also relied on the incredible goodwill that it has with customers to launch a new product category that many initially had doubts about. It knew that many of its loyal customers would love to take a chance on new devices that push the envelope on smartphone technology. That’s precisely what has happened over the past couple of years. As Samsung’s foldables have now entered into their fourth interaction, we have now started to see wider adoption of its Galaxy Z Fold and Z Flip devices.
A new device category would obviously have some growing pains. The company would need to provide customers with the confidence that help would be available should they require it. Samsung has an incredible worldwide customer service center network. Even if you bought your device in Paris, you could walk into a service center in Dubai and get it fixed should the need arise.
A customer spending $1,799 on a Galaxy Z Fold 4 or $999 on a Galaxy Z Flip 4 would want that peace of mind, and Samsung is in a unique position to provide it. The same can’t be said for many of the Chinese manufacturers who are now coming out with their own foldable phones. While they may be undercutting Samsung on price or specs, we’ve explained before why the foldable experience goes beyond the spec sheet.
There’s a known issue with the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3’s pre-applied screen protector on the foldable panel. It tends to get loose around the hinge pressure points, leading to air bubbles that don’t look good. This requires a simple fix, just replace the screen protector, but given the relatively fragile nature of the panel, many would prefer not to attempt to replace the protector on the device by themselves.
The screen protector on my Galaxy Z Flip 3 went through similar degradation while I was travelling. Fixing the problem required little more than finding a Samsung service center on Google Maps, taking a taxi there, and waiting for 30 minutes as they replaced it with another OEM protector for a nominal charge.
It goes without saying that this shouldn’t be happening on a device that’s less than a year old. I saw multiple people at the service center who had come in for a similar job on their Galaxy Z Flip 3. Earlier reports had also shown that some users were seeing this degradation within a few months of ownership, but that’s beside the point.
I appreciate the fact that even when I was in another country, I knew that a Samsung service center would probably not be too far away and that they would be able to address the issue. This likely wouldn’t have been the experience had I purchased a foldable smartphone from a brand without a similar network.
As customers, we shouldn’t be willing to see a race to the bottom for foldable smartphone prices. Given the unique nature of these devices, access to quality customer service will always be important. Samsung is one of the very few manufacturers that can offer a truly global service network to customers. So the next time a cheaper foldable phone hits the market, keep in mind that this precisely what makes Samsung unbeatable as a foldable smartphone vendor.