Two Gen-2 phones set for release in 1H of 2020
The response towards the latest announcement from Samsung Electronics that it will release its first foldable phone, the Galaxy Fold, in September this year was lukewarm at best.
After five months since the initial release was delayed, Samsung said on July 25 that the phone is officially ready for launch. The tech giant, however, did not specify the exact date or the countries to be launched in.
Industry sources say the company is still fine-tuning the details, as the Galaxy Note 10 will begin to be sold on Aug. 23. The dates will soon be fixed, they added, since Samsung will want to avoid questions related to the Galaxy Fold at the Note 10 US launch on Aug. 7.
On surface, Samsung is saying that the Note and the Foldable target completely different groups.
“The Galaxy Fold is the first generation product in a completely new category, making the target consumer completely different from the Galaxy Note,” said a Samsung official. He added that it’s the 10th installment of the Note series, meaning it has many loyal consumers.
Samsung sells approximately 10 million units of the Note series a year.
Industry experts, however believe there would be some mutual market erosion, since smartphone sales usually hit a peak three months following the release.
“It’s also a matter of losing steam and lack of trust,” said another market watcher. “Who’s going to want to be a beta tester for a potentially failed experiment?”
Reflecting the market response, the Galaxy Fold is expected to sell less than the initially projected 1 million, especially since it has only around three months till the end of the year.
Meanwhile, Samsung said it has made critical improvements to its first foldable to mend the glitches that forced the delay in April. For instance, the Infinity Flex Display screen protector is now covering the entire screen for better protection, and the backside of the display and the hinges were reinforced for improved durability.
When folded, the display of the Galaxy Fold measures 4.6-inches wide. Unfolded, it’s 7.3 inches.
The world’s largest smartphone maker is also preparing to launch a second generation of Galaxy Fold phones in the first half of next year.
One of the types will be a clamshell version measuring 6.7 inches, with the top and bottom parts of the display folding inwards. Another is expected to sport an 8-inch display. But the launch dates for these phones are still shrouded in uncertainty, according to industry watchers.
“With the Galaxy S11 expected to be revealed at MWC in February to begin sales in March, it will be difficult to find the best timing for selling the second generation foldable phones,” said one expert.
Some say Samsung hurried to reveal the Galaxy Fold to stay ahead of China’s Huawei Technologies. Before Huawei was sanctioned by the US government, it had targeted becoming the largest smartphone make next year by beating out Samsung.
The Elec is South Korea’s No.1 tech news platform.