“This is a super premium device”
After months of speculation, Samsung finally lifted the lid on the Galaxy Fold, its entry into the emerging folding phone market. The device will launch alongside the Galaxy S10 range, and Samsung is making sure that people know this is a premium smartphone that isn’t necessarily set for mainstream success in year one.
Samsung UK’s director of product, services, and commercial strategy Kate Beaumont has revealed that the company will be holding a press event in April to give people a closer look at the handset and lay out its plans for the device. This will be a few weeks before the April 26th launch.
It would appear that Samsung has a very specific idea about how the Fold is going to be marketed and sold. Speaking to The Verge, Beaumont said: “We’ll have less supply than we would of the S10 at launch, and also how it goes to market is really important to us. This is a super premium device, and we want to make sure it has a concierge-like service and experience, so it’s not going to be on display in all stores. You’re not going to see it on the stands, we want to make sure it’s a very personal experience. There will be quite intensive aftercare that goes with it as well.”
It’s little wonder that Samsung is being so selective with the Fold; the phone is expected to sell for an eye-watering $1,980 (around £1,800), which will place it well out of the reach of most mobile users. To purchase the phone – which will be in short supply – you’ll most likely have to get it from Samsung direct, and with no network to subsidise the cost, you’ll be ponying up the full price. Yikes.
Beaumont also spoke a little about the reasoning behind the Fold’s design, which places the screen inside the device when it’s folded. Huawei’s Mate X takes the opposite approach and wraps the display around the outside. “We considered a lot of options,” explains Beaumont. “There’s things like if you want to put a case on it, usability, durability, and we feel that having the screen on the inside is the best way to protect that screen. We have the technology to do a fold that is very very tiny, as of course if you have the fold on the outside it doesn’t take quite the same amount of research and development to get that device to fold as it does something that is folding with a much lower angle degree on it.”
The jury is still out on folding phones – as we’ve said in the past, they feel more like an advert for screen technology than considered consumer devices – but 2019 will reveal once and for all if the public is truly interested in them. By making the Fold a super-premium phone, Samsung is arguably playing it safe; we can’t see the mass market adopting this device until the price drops to less than £1000 SIM-free.