Samsung Electronics on Wednesday unveiled two foldable smartphones as it continues to bet on devices with bending screens, a budding market that has yet to fully take off because of high prices.
The clamshell-designed Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Galaxy Z Fold 5, a larger device that opens and folds like a book, will be available for pre-orders starting July 26 in certain markets including the United States and South Korea.
Built with 6.7-inch and 7.6-inch main screens, the phones have bigger displays than Samsung’s previous folding devices and are equipped with more advanced cameras, providing crisper visuals and more features for work, text and video chats, movies and games, the company said. Designed to be compact and easy to carry, the Flip 5 is also built with a 3.4-inch cover screen that allows it to be used folded in half.
The phones, which run on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor chips, are slightly sleeker and lighter than their predecessors but designed to be more durable and shock-resistant.
All that technology comes with hefty price tags. In the United States, Flip 5 will start at around $1,000 while the Fold 5 is set at $1,800.
Samsung, a South Korean technology giant that’s also a major producer of computer memory chips, has been the longest provider of folding phones, releasing its first devices in 2019.
The company announced the new phones at a lavish product event in South Korea’s capital, Seoul, choosing one of the markets where folding phones are closer to being mainstream products than novelties.
There’s optimism in the industry that the global market for foldable phones is beginning to grow at a faster pace with other vendors like Google, Motorola and Huawei now providing competition to Samsung.
According to Counterpoint, a technology market research firm, global shipments of foldable phones will approach 19 million units in 2023, which would mark a 45% increase from 2022, mainly fueled by rising consumer demands in China.
The shipments may exceed 100 million units by 2027, Counterpoint said in a report released Wednesday, although that projection was based on a presumption that Apple would eventually release a foldable iPhone, sometime around 2025. Apple, which closely competes with Samsung for the top spot in global smartphone shipments, has yet to confirm any plans for foldable devices.
Kim Tong-hyung, The Associated Press