October 6, 2022

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Samsung’s $1,800 Galaxy Z Fold 4 is intentionally elusive

At last week’s Unpacked event, Samsung unveiled its new flagship Galaxy Z Fold 4 foldable phone, which adds better multitasking software, a slimmer design and a more durable body. But one thing that hasn’t changed is the staggering $1,800 price tag – which few consumers will likely be able to afford. But that exclusivity is exactly why the Fold 4 exists.

It may seem confusing to keep the Z Fold 4 at twice the price of other premium phones when Samsung wants foldable devices to become more mainstream, CEO TM Roh said during Unpacked. I argued that price cuts would be the best way Samsung could fight Apple This holiday season. With Samsung firmly on the price of the Z Fold 4, the company is clearly content to keep it a niche device available only to tech enthusiasts with big pockets.

The Z Fold 4 sits above a layer where there are no real competitors. It’s basically a Ferrari between Mercedes and BMW. Creating this level of exclusivity is absolutely the goal, giving Samsung an exciting and ambitious product that is generating buzz and interest in the entire range. Lowering its price by a few hundred dollars won’t make a difference, said Nabila Popal, director of research at IDC.

Bhopal said keeping the Z Fold 4 at $1,800 is “the right move, in my opinion, even if it’s not very affordable for the masses.”

This dynamic, which goes against the idea that a foldable low price might spur interest in the category, is one of the pitfalls this entire region faces. Foldable devices occupy an exciting place in the phone field, which has seen an endless supply of faded metal and glass panels for more than a decade. But the high price really prevents them from falling apart.

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The only answer is to slowly build the market and interest with a mix of exciting, but less achievable options, like the Z Fold 4, and the relatively affordable $1,000 Z Flip 4.

Samsung is hoping the Z Fold 4’s dynamic design – which is still personally impressive – will give the company a run for itself ahead of next month’s Apple special event and stir up excitement about foldable devices in general.

Samsung relies on the Z Flip series to sell vibration From foldable phones, to transitional phones that change shape. And Samsung has something to do, as it’s still a rarity in the wild, with research firm IDC estimating that just over 7 million foldable phones shipped in 2021 compared to 1.3 billion smartphones sold last year.

From a market perspective, the small size the Z Fold 4 could get could help Samsung reclaim some global share of high-end phones, as Apple sells Seven out of 10 Premium phones worth $800 and up globally.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

Screenshot from CNET

There are no price cuts while the parts are expensive

Although the price cuts will help Samsung make its foldable phones more popular, the company may have no choice but to keep its prices steady. Unlike truly mainstream products, like Samsung’s Galaxy S series, which have flat screens and components used in many other smartphones, the smaller size of the foldable devices sold every year have special parts.

“This means that the highly specialized components that are needed … are still being produced in small quantities and therefore likely remain expensive,” Technalysis Research analyst Bob O’Donnell said.

This leads to the chicken-and-egg problem that affects every niche machine: parts can’t get cheaper until they’re mass-produced, and there’s no point in making them mass while consumers buy very few expensive machines with those machines. cutting. That’s why so few phone makers make foldable devices, including Apple, O’Donnell said.

“We really can’t ignore the fact that the supply chain isn’t really ready for an Apple-wide product, and that’s part of the reason why Apple isn’t ready [made a foldable] Either,” O’Donnell said.

Samsung is splitting the difference with the Z Flip 4, a clamshell foldable phone that has half the footprint of a “flat” smartphone when closed, but unfolds to show an internal screen as large as that of any regular phone. Samsung sees the Z Flip 4 as an “entry device” that turns intrepid buyers into foldable arms, a platform for consumers to eventually upgrade to the larger and more expensive Z Fold line.

Samsung says the Z Flip is the best-selling series, accounting for 70% of the company’s foldable devices shipped, but both devices serve different demographics. The Z Flip is sleek but ultimately just a retractable version of a typical “flat” smartphone, not a smaller version of the productivity-enhancing Z Fold that unfolds into tablet-sized screens.

More foldable devices are sold each year, and IDC expects shipments to grow to 25 million foldable devices in 2025. It is difficult to predict whether that size will be enough to enable cheaper foldables. Samsung has at least gotten creative with offering foldable devices with more value.

Facebook Network on Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

Facebook on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4.

Screenshot from CNET

Cheaper folds through trade-ins and carrier deals

The industry is making foldable things a thing. You can get the Galaxy Z Fold 4 for less than $1,800 with generous exchange values ​​and various carrier deals. Samsung is keeping its elite price tag, carriers are getting more customers signed up for their services, and customers are getting their hands on the next evolution in phones.

Samsung’s trade-in deals cut $1,000 off the Z Fold 4’s list price if you send in the Z Fold 3, the older Z Fold 2, or this year’s Galaxy S22 Ultra. But the exchange values ​​are still very generous for the original Z Fold or other Samsung flagships from the past few years. The most expensive Apple phones also get a decent trade-in value, but you hardly get anything for phones from Google, Motorola, LG or OnePlus.

Carriers can also save money on the Z Fold 4, as Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile are offering various trade-in deals to bring the price down by up to $1,000. Verizon is also offering $800 off a second Z Fold 4 after you buy the first, should your family need two folds.

The other option is to wait for Black Friday or the holiday season, when Samsung may offer new deals to discount foldable devices.

Just don’t hold your breath for Samsung to discount its most premium mobile devices. Unlike the Z Flip 3, which received $150 price cut Once its successor was revealed this week, the Z Fold 3 has the same $1,800 price tag on Samsung’s website as it did when it launched a year ago. With soaring parts prices, years of research and development to compensate, and a lack of competition, there’s not much pressure on Samsung to lower its prices.

Bhopal said that Samsung “is a leader in this field right now and can charge additional fees before other Android players ramp up in this area, maybe even Apple in a couple of years.”