Touted as the innovation of the year, foldable smartphones took a bit long to arrive on the scene and Samsung, which was way ahead in this niche segment, finally unveiled “Galaxy Fold” globally earlier this month which will be available for purchase via pre-booking mode before Diwali in India.
After tackling initial hinge design issues, the South Korean giant has ironed out those issues and the hinge mechanism now holds up well.
With any Gen 1 innovation, hardware and software issues do crop up but as the time progresses — and R&D gets refined — it not only becomes a disruptor but also prepares the market for the next big revenue generator — at a time when smartphone users have reached a threshold for new technology and applications.
In its standard form, Galaxy Fold gives you a 4.6-inch screen experience for normal day-to-day task but as you unfold it — the cross-screen functionalities are seamless on a bigger, 7.3-inch form factor as the plastic OLED (P-OLED) display can bend like a book.
“Samsung can surely leverage this as the real innovator of the form factor, since this will be the only device in the market for the next few months,” Navkendar Singh, Research Director, IDC India, told IANS.
However, considering that the expected price for Galaxy Fold will be upwards of Rs 1.5 lakh along with novelty of the form factor, Samsung will not be expecting huge volumes out of this, Singh added.
The smartphone-cum-tablet (12GB RAM and 512GB ROM) that offers split-screen multi-tasking, houses six cameras (three for selfies and 3 at the rear), Android 9 with One UI on top and Snapdragon 855 chipset.
According to Gartner, foldable phones will account for 5 per cent of high-end phones by 2023 — nearly 30 million units.
It means that whosoever leads in this innovation arena will reap the benefits as the foldable screen technology is not easy to master owing to several manufacturing challenges.
Tarun Pathak, Associate Director at Counterpoint Research said that Samsung has set a high bar for smartphone vendors, especially at a time when innovation is perceived to have reached its peak.
“With the upgrade cycle getting longer, smartphones with curved displays have potential to become popular with early adopters. This will also have implications on supply chain and developers,” Pathak told IANS.
“Galaxy Fold” in India will come with exclusive access to specialized customer care services — including one-on-one access to Samsung experts, and a 24/7 support hub online or over the phone. It will be sold through select retail outlets and will be available only via pre-book mode.
“It is surely a novel device and a real innovation in the smartphone form factor, which the market has not seen in a long time,” said Singh.
Cheaper Gen 2 and 3 foldable devices would make foldable phones mainstream but till then, Galaxy Fold can be crowned as the world's first foldable device that will reach consumers' hands in India before Diwali.
The expected price (upwards of Rs 1.5 lakh) clearly states that Galaxy Fold is not for the ordinary as of now but a perfect style statement for the creme de la creme.