Samsung's Z Fold 3 phone
Samsung has revealed two new foldable smartphones and slashed their prices in a bid to broaden their appeal to consumers.
The Korean technology giant released its Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3, its third generation of phones with a flexible screen that can fold in half.
Samsung’s original folding phones, launched in 2019, were met with derision and poor reviews after they were found to be easily damaged.
The first folding screen was delicate and the hinge mechanism for opening the device could easily pick up debris.
Samsung said the new phones’ durability and water resistance had improved compared with the original line-up. The hinge also features a self-cleaning mechanism to remove dust.
The phones should be able to open and close 200,000 times without fail.
Samsung's Z Flip 3 model
The new devices include the Z Flip 3, a phone that folds upwards like the “flip phones” of the mid-2000s. The Flip has a 6.9-inch screen when folded out, which works like a normal smartphone. When folded, it has a small secondary screen that can show notifications or be used for selfies.
Samsung has slashed the price of its Flip model. The new device will stat at £949, substantially lower than the £1,299 of its previous model.
Foldable phones have remained niche devices, representing only a small segment of the smartphone market.
The Z Flip folds upwards
The tech company’s Z Fold 3 phone unfurls outwards, similar to a book. When open, it has a 7.6-inch screen that can be used as a tablet and supports up to three apps at once for multitasking.
Closed it features a smaller front screen that can be used similar to a normal smartphone. It will also be compatible with Samsung’s S-Pen stylus. The range will start at £1,599.
Samsung’s latest batch of phones comes ahead of Apple’s latest iPhone next month. Samsung’s new phones all include 5G connectivity, which Apple only introduced last year.
The new iPhones are expected to include incremental improvements such as better cameras that include "portrait mode" for live videos – another feature already offered by Samsung.
The Korean company has been trying to ignite interest in the new wave of foldable devices as its own sales stutter.
According to analysts Counterpoint, Samsung has fallen behind China’s Xiaomi in overall phone market share, although it is now ahead of Apple with about 15.7pc of the market.
Leo Gebbie, an analyst at CCS Insight, said: "Questions remain around the true value that foldables deliver, especially compared to ‘regular’ flagship smartphones which offer top-level specifications at lower prices.
"Samsung has staked a clear claim as a leader in the foldables market, but it’s notable that rivals like Apple have not felt the need to follow, raising the question of whether the level of consumer demand justifies the investment."
As well as its new phones, Samsung also revealed new wireless earbuds and its Galaxy Watch 4 smart watch, which includes Google’s watch operating system for the first time.