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Samsung pledges to ‘mainstream’ foldables

It’s been clear for some time that Samsung plans to unveil the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 at its upcoming August 11 Galaxy Unpacked event, but now the company has revealed that its ultimate aim is to make folding devices go mainstream.

Near the end of a long press release announcing a 20% increase in earnings to 63.67 trillion won (~$55.56 billion) with an operating profit of 12.57 trillion won (~$11 billion), the company outlined its plans for the future.

“With successful launch of the new foldable smartphones with further enhanced user experience, the company will solidify its leadership in the premium segment by mainstreaming the foldable category while continuing the sales momentum of Galaxy S series throughout the year.”

There are, so far, two things which have prevented foldables becoming mainstream: reliability and price. 

The first has been tackled pretty efficiently since the original Galaxy Fold, which famously broke in reviewers’ hands. The second-generation Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 and Galaxy Z Flip 5G have had no widespread reports of breakages and are widely considered to be extremely well designed.

Price, however, remains an issue. At launch, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 sold for £1799 with the Z Flip 5G arriving at £1300. That makes both more expensive than a 256GB Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max, which sells for £1199.

If Samsung is serious in its mainstream ambition, then that’s the area to target, and reports suggest the company will be offering a 20% price cut this time around. That’s still up in the air, with some corroborating the claim, but other leaked prices suggesting it’s somewhat overblown

Samsung does appear confident, however, with one source indicating that the company is aiming to manufacture 7 million foldables this year – a big increase on the 1-2 million previous foldables produced. That would suggest something to boost sales, be it a big price cut or other incentives to push upgrades, like free extras or generous trade-in discounts.

We shall find out for sure on August 11, when the company is also expected to launch the Galaxy Buds 2, Galaxy S21 FE and two kinds of Galaxy Watch 4

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