Report: Samsung Plans Mid-Range Foldable Phones by 2024
Just a few years ago, foldables were a rarity in the smartphone ecosystem, but they’ve quickly become an annual component of Samsung’s release cycle. They’re still fantastically expensive devices, though. As we wait on the Galaxy Z Fold4 and Flip4, a new report points to a more reasonably priced future for Samsung’s foldables. The company is allegedly working on mid-range foldables that will be part of its A-series lineup, which could push foldable sales to new heights.
If you wanted to pick up a foldable right now, you’d have to spend at least a thousand dollars, ignoring any short-term sales. Samsung’s first foldable retailed for a whopping $2,000, and the updated Z Fold3 isn’t much cheaper at $1,800. The smaller Z Flip3 costs $1,000, a sizeable reduction from the $1,500 asking price for the first Z Flip. Samsung has managed to bring these prices down modestly even as component prices have increased, but moving foldables into the mid-range is going to take some time.
According to ET News, Samsung’s mobile experience division has focused its efforts on making mid-range foldables happen by 2024. The pricing is vague right now, but the report says they are targeting under 1 million won, which works out to about $770 at current exchange rates. That’s not a huge change for the flip phone-style foldables, but the report could be speculating about the pricing for a Fold-based device that becomes a small tablet when opened.
These cheaper foldable devices will lose some premium features to hit that price, but the report doesn’t specify. Odds are, we’ll get cheaper camera modules and simpler designs. For example, current foldables have incredibly intricate hinge designs that clear dust from behind the screen. I would also expect the external cover displays to get smaller or lower resolution. Extras like S Pen stylus support and water resistance could also fall by the wayside.
Analysts expect foldable shipments to increase from about 10 million in 2021 to 15 million. That’s healthy growth, but the overall market share of foldables is still sitting in the single digits. Samsung believes that adding foldables to its budget-oriented A-series could boost that to double digits. It could also help Samsung solidify its place as the premier manufacturer of foldable phones, a form factor that will most likely become common in the next decade. Even Apple is rumored to have foldable plans, but this time, Samsung has a big lead.