Samsung reveals new folding and flip phones in bid to take niche handsets mainstream

Samsung is launching two new phones, one foldable and one flip-phone, as the South Korean company continues to commit to the niche product lines while delaying the launch of the Note 21.

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is retailing for at least £1,599 in the UK – a considerable slice cheaper than the £1,799 charged for the Fold 2.

Samsung is sticking to the foldable line despite the troubles which first accompanied the product release, with the original design shelved after journalists experienced breakages within a few days and problems with the display.

At the time, some reviewers branded it “unusable” and a reworked second-generation phone was subsequently released.

Notably, Samsung’s largest rival Apple has refused to enter the market with a foldable phone of its own.

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, the fourth generation including the unsuccessful first attempt, has a 6.2″ display which unfolds into a 7.6″ tablet-style screen.

It comes with a selfie camera hidden beneath the flexible display and also now supports a range of tablet features, including a taskbar for switching between apps, and the S-Pen stylus.

Samsung hopes that stylus support for the new Fold 3 will help move the foldable phone into the mainstream

Samsung first teased a new flip phone during the Academy Awards ceremony, ahead of the company’s signature Unpacked event.

The new Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 will cost at least £949 in the UK.

Its 6.7″ internal screen folds in half, fitting snugly in a pocket or a purse, while the 1.9″ external screen allows users to check the time and glance at notifications without opening the device properly.

The new Samsung Flip 3 is designed to fit snugly in a purse or pocket
The new Samsung Flip 3 is designed to fit snugly in a purse or pocket

Leo Gebbie, principal analyst at CCS Insight, said: “Both devices are a case of evolution rather than revolution, as Samsung aims to gradually improve the capability and functionality of foldables and address user concerns about their durability.

“Questions remain around the true value that foldables deliver, especially compared to ‘regular’ flagship smartphones which offer top-level specifications at lower prices,” they added.

“The decision not to launch a Galaxy Note in 2021 but incorporate features into the Galaxy Fold 3 suggests Samsung believes the time is right to move foldables beyond a niche of early adopters.

“Such ambition will take longer than a single product cycle but Samsung should be applauded for taking the plunge.”

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