Some might argue that smartphones have reached a peak level where year-on-year evolutions don’t seem so great. At the same time, some companies have been experimenting with different things – and Samsung is one of them. The South Korean company on Wednesday announced the new Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Fold 5, which show that it still believes in the foldable market.
Read on as we detail what’s new with these phones and what they mean for the whole market.
Foldable phones have been around for a while, but the first versions were rather clunky and extremely fragile. Over the years, some companies have given up on such phones, but not Samsung. Since 2019, the company has been investing in Galaxy Z devices.
For those unfamiliar, Galaxy Z is Samsung’s lineup of foldable devices, which currently has two different phones: the Z Flip and the Z Fold. While Z Flip is more like a phone that folds so you can put it in your pocket, Z Fold is more like a mini tablet that folds into a phone. And today, Samsung has introduced new versions of these devices.
Galaxy Z Flip and Galaxy Z Fold 5
In terms of specs, there’s not much new in the Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Z Fold 5. The processor inside the phones is now the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 (compared to the 8 Gen 1 in last year’s models) and they now come with 256GB of storage at a minimum. Otherwise, everything is pretty much the same as before. But there are some key improvements when it comes to the foldable tech.
As noted by my colleagues at 9to5Google, Samsung has developed a new hinge mechanism that makes devices much thinner when folded. There’s still a gap when the screen is closed, but it’s noticeably smaller. This is one of the aspects that made me find foldable devices less appealing in the past and I’m glad to see that Samsung has managed to fix this.
Another interesting detail is that the Z Flip 5’s external display now covers almost the entire area. Instead of a small display for widgets, you can now run full apps and even use a keyboard without having to unfold the phone. Unfortunately, the crease in the display remains the same as before – which is still one of the biggest downsides of foldable phones.
What’s next for these devices?
As I once mentioned here, I decided to try out the Galaxy Z Flip 3. And while I wouldn’t use it as my main phone, it made me realize that there’s some room for foldable devices. They’re not revolutionary and I don’t think they’ll replace mainstream phones anytime soon. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t cool and useful in some situations.
I had fun placing my phone half folded on a table to take selfies or make video calls without a tripod. Some friends also loved the idea of folding my Z Flip and putting it in a small purse.
Is that a game-changer? I don’t think so. But Samsung still believes there is a market for foldables. Nearly 10 million foldable phones were shipped in 2021, while the number went up to 14 million in 2022. That’s still nothing compared to the iPhone or even Galaxy S sales. But still, the numbers show that more people are willing each year to give these devices a try.
Foldable phones still have a lot of compromises. They’re still fragile and they still have a crease in the screen. But someday, if we can have foldable devices without these issues, I could see myself having an iPad that folds into an iPhone.
What about Apple?
Rumors suggest that Apple has been internally testing multiple prototypes of foldable devices. While some prototypes are smaller foldable phones, others are based on the iPad. Analysts Ming-Chi Kuo and Ross Young reported that Apple’s first foldable product is expected to be introduced in 2025 “at the earliest.”
This comes as no surprise since Apple has been following a more conservative approach in recent years. The reports also claim that Apple’s first foldable device will cost much more than any current iPhone.
Personally, I don’t think Apple will introduce a foldable device while there are still issues like the crease in the screen. But in the future, I believe this device will come as a new iPhone or iPad model for those willing to have a foldable device – and not a replacement for traditional iPhones and iPads.
What about you? Would you like to own an Apple foldable device? Let us know in the comments section below.
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