DONGGUAN (BLOOMBERG) – Oppo has unveiled a foldable smartphone that costs more than $ 600 less than Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy Fold, making its first attempt to carve out a niche in the nascent category.
The Oppo Find N sports a 7.1-inch interior screen co-developed with its Korean rival and a 5.5-inch exterior screen. Prices will start at 7,999 yuan (S $ 1,720) in China from December 23, compared to $ 2,398 for the Galaxy Z Fold 3 (price in Singapore).
Like the latest iPhones, the Find N’s internal display has an adaptable refresh rate, speeding up when needed and slowing down with static images to conserve battery power. Oppo says it has almost no crease in the inner crease, a big difference from its more expensive competitor.
Consumers have been slow to embrace foldable phones, one of the industry’s biggest innovations in recent years, in part because of high prices and varying quality.
Apple has so far avoided the category while Samsung and Huawei Technologies have offered devices as early as 2019. The Lenovo group’s Motorola joined the race in 2020 with a foldable version of its classic Razr, but it has also shown signs of failure. prematurity. Xiaomi launched its first offering earlier this year.
In 2021, Samsung saw strong sales with the more affordable $ 1,398 Galaxy Z Flip 3, cheering on rivals and potentially heralding a surge of devices next year.
âCompeting device makers seem to be hoping that they can build on Samsung’s market-building efforts with its Z Flip and Z Fold models,â said Ben Wood, chief analyst at CCS Insight. “We will see a multitude of foldable smartphones in 2022.”
Price, durability, and production capacity have been the biggest hurdles in suppressing demand for foldables, but Samsung’s push below the $ 1,400 mark has lowered the barrier to entry.
Oppo said it custom designed its hinges to avoid the kind of pitfalls Samsung encountered with its first-generation Fold, promising the Find N can withstand opening and closing more than 200,000 times.
Like Xiaomi and Vivo, Oppo is investing heavily to fill the void left by Huawei, which almost pulled out of the market after U.S. sanctions choked its supply of U.S. components critical to smartphone production. Oppo now ranks second in China and tied with Vivo as the world’s fourth most prolific smartphone maker, according to IDC data.
Its Find N price is in line with that of high-end smartphones and it makes little compromise in terms of specifications: it has the usual multitude of cameras, 5G connectivity and Wi-Fi 6, wireless charging, up to to 512 GB of storage and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 chipset.
âFoldables will become a staple for the premium tier,â said Anshel Sag, mobile analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy. “This will become a fairly common form factor as durability and costs improve.”