New updates are added at the bottom of this story…….
The original story (published August 29, 2022) follows:
Samsung recently unveiled the 4th iteration of the 2019 Galaxy Fold. Unlike the 1st generation model which had a pretty rocky start to life, Samsung claims the Galaxy Z Fold 4 is one of the toughest foldables ever.
The original Galaxy Fold had design issues that caused Samsung to pull affected review units from popular reviewers such as MKBHD and The Verge. But those flaws seem over given Samsung’s latest claims.
Don’t get me wrong, these aren’t overnight claims. The improvements seen on the Fold 4 started with the Fold 2 where Samsung opted for a slim folding glass panel and redesigned the hinge to keep dust away from internal components.
There’s no doubt that the latest model comes with even more durability improvements, such as an “optimized layer structure” for the foldable screen to limit damage that can come from bumps and a bezel for the now thinner hinge, among others.
But compared to the Galaxy Fold 3, the new toy is another iterative upgrade that brings the typical year-over-year improvements, such as a better chip and a better display with improved cameras.
Interestingly, despite the minor yearly improvements Samsung has added to its line of foldable phones, one thing that has remained pretty much unchanged is the price.
You see, foldable smartphones aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. But over the past three years or so, Samsung and a few others have managed to convince millions of people that carrying around a big-screen phone is worth it.
In Q4 2021 and Q1 2022, 6.42 million combined foldable phones were shipped to various regions around the world. Of this total, Samsung held a 74% market share, followed by Huawei at 20%.
With such massive market control, I’m not surprised that Samsung foldable phones have had roughly the same prices since their inception three years ago.
The first Galaxy foldable phone was launched at a price of $1,980. Although expected for a first-generation model, Samsung surprised many by raising the price of the Fold 2 to $2,000. But the Fold 3 and Fold 4 launched at $1,800.
With these super-expensive price tags, it’s no surprise that foldable phones only appeal to a select niche of enthusiasts, a theme that’s not exactly new to seasoned smartphone buyers.
Samsung controls a large portion of the general smartphone market, which often results in setting market trends in pricing and other aspects.
Today’s smartphone industry revolves around value for money. As stated earlier, foldable phones are outliers, but many still consider price and what they get for it as top priorities when buying a new phone.
This is where Xiaomi, Oppo, OnePlus, Vivo and other Chinese vendors come in. They’ve perfected the concept of value for money, presenting themselves as go-to alternatives for those looking for equally capable handsets but can’t afford Samsung’s somewhat steep prices.
Ten years ago, the Android smartphone market was not ideal for those on a budget. Many dreamed of having an affordable device with great specs and features, but expensive devices from big brands like HTC and Samsung made that impossible.
It took input from Xiaomi, OnePlus and other Chinese vendors to conceptualize the idea of value for money as we know it today.
Redmi and Poco phones that cater to entry-level and performance enthusiasts have been a game-changer for Xiaomi in its efforts to expand beyond China.
Seeing Xiaomi’s success, other Chinese vendors have also opted for the same playbook, setting in motion many of the best value for money practices seen in the smartphone market today.
This is the trend I want to see in the foldable smartphone market, not only in terms of price, but also in specs, features and inventiveness. Maybe then, and only then, most of us will consider buying a foldable phone.
Don’t make a mistake. The likes of Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo already have excellent foldable smartphones on the market. But even their combined sales can’t top Huawei, but the latter is miles away from Samsung.
This may be because none of Xiaomi, Oppo or Vivo sell their foldable phones outside of China, so Samsung has the upper hand when it comes to global market share.
However, just like a decade ago when Xiaomi destabilized Samsung’s dominance in the Android landscape, its control over the price of foldable phones will likely remain unchallenged until Chinese vendors start selling globally. .
But it could take a few more years before that happens. Until then, chances are you’ll still have to part with a small fortune to get your hands on one of Samsung’s foldable phones, unless you’re shipping one from China.
The Oppo Find N starts at 8,201 Yuan (around $1,200). A good price, but hard to get your hands on. The recent Xiaomi Mix Fold 2 and Vivo X Fold are both priced at 8,999 Yuan, or around $1,300.
It is apparent from the prices that Samsung’s offerings are more expensive. But since the alternatives from China are not yet available in the markets that Samsung already sells, only the Korean company is able to cater to the global market.
But once potential buyers have the option to buy from other vendors directly from local stores, as they already do with regular smartphones, the tables will likely start to turn, eventually forcing Samsung to cut prices.
Time will tell, but we’d also love to hear your thoughts in the comments section. We’ll also update this article with the poll results below after a week.
Will the global availability of Chinese foldable phones drive down the prices of the Samsung foldable market?
Vote below and read our opinion piece here: https://t.co/tflftEuESI
— PiunikaWeb (@PiunikaWeb) August 29, 2022
Update (September 5, 2022)
The verdict is in and it seems all of our readers agree that foldable phone prices will only drop when Chinese vendors take over the global market.
Featured Image: Samsung
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