Opinion

One way Samsung will benefit from being first to enter foldables market

Samsung’s launch of its first commercial foldable phone, the Galaxy Fold, was turbulent. The company overlooked an important aspect of the Fold’s design and had to delay the device’s release for nearly six months. Many believe the design oversight happened because Samsung simply wanted to be first with a foldable device on the market, and they have a point. But being first to market does have its benefits, as the upcoming Galaxy Z Flip will prove.

If the rumors are to be believed (and at this point, they can be), the Galaxy Z Flip’s foldable screen will have an ultra-thin layer of glass on top. The other clamshell foldable phone that’s launching this year, the Motorola Razr, won’t. Just like Samsung, Motorola is making sure people know that the Razr will have to be handled with care. And while that is going to be general advice for any foldable phone in the first few years, Samsung does have an advantage here.

Since Samsung has been working on foldable phones for a longer time, the folding screen on its second foldable phone won’t be as fragile as the screen on the Galaxy Fold or Motorola’s upcoming Razr. The Razr is Motorola’s first attempt at a foldable phone, and, as a result, it has exactly the same disadvantage the Fold had last year: The foldable screen, which is made of plastic, has no glass layer on top for protection.

The Razr is also priced very expensively for its spec sheet, but that’s another discussion altogether. The point I’m trying to make is that in early 2020, the foldable phone from Samsung will be more resilient than the one Motorola will sell to its customers. That wouldn’t be possible if Samsung hadn’t decided to go all in on the foldable segment before anyone else.

Sure, the company could have decided to hold off on launching a product in the market until it had the ability to put glass on top of a foldable screen, but the same could be said about Motorola. However, that’s not how it works. Every new product category has to start somewhere, and the early adopters always have to accept some risks and compromises.

In the case of the Galaxy Fold and the new Razr phone from Motorola, it’s a folding display that you have to be extremely careful with. And, for the next couple of years, those who buy a foldable device will also be paying a pretty high price even though these foldable devices have the same specs as standard non-folding smartphones.

But thanks to its persistence, Samsung will have solved — to some degree — a major issue of foldable screens before anyone else. And I can’t help but feel that’s a pretty big advantage. The Razr will probably see a lot more demand as it carries an iconic design, but for anyone looking for a foldable phone with a flip phone form factor, the Galaxy Z Flip’s glass-equipped folding display makes it a more sensible option.

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london2tim
london2tim

foldable phones are such a niche market – i don’t know why so much emphasis …they are expensive, not great, technology not advanced enough to provide a good product
Samsung should focus their energy in improving their current flagships (as in actually improving them and making them more affordable) and innovating in the OS area which seems to sort of flatten out in the past 2-3 years

Danny D.
Danny D.

Using my Galaxy Fold for over 5 months now. I can’t switch back to regular smartphones. You should try the Galaxy Fold for just one month. You will like the option of having a bigger display with you all the time.

london2tim
london2tim

not if its gonna break in 3 months and then you’re left wondering why you paid $2000 on it

ianmacd
ianmacd

I agree. Once you’ve used a Fold, everything else seems outdated.

The technology *is* advanced, the specs are equal to those of any 2019 Samsung flagship, and the result is a phone that doesn’t feel anywhere near as fragile as some reviewers would have you believe.

It’s undeniably an expensive device, though, and that does render it a niche product for the time being.

JSH1973
JSH1973

I’m looking forward to see the ultra thin glass and how it performs, it must be quite good if Samsung is already planning to use it for a Note device