Samsung Electronics Co. unveiled the latest generation of its foldable devices on Wednesday, keeping prices steady despite surging costs of materials and shipping.
The new Galaxy Z Fold 4, which is about the size of a notepad and opens like one, and Z Flip 4, which is square when closed and opens out to regular smartphone size, come with a suite of incremental upgrades.
This year’s Fold has a 45% more durable main display with minimized bezels, a slimmer hinge and upgraded cameras both on the back and under the display, Samsung said.
Responding to user requests, the company upgraded the battery on the smaller Flip and added a larger max storage option of 512GB.
Samsung surprised industry observers a year ago when it launched the Flip 3 at $999, positioning it as a direct competitor to Apple Inc.’s iPhone range and a successor to the Galaxy Note lineup.
The company benefited from its aggressive pricing with record sales of its foldable lineup since then and has stated its ambition to bring the category into the mainstream.
This year’s disruptions to logistics, production and materials supply have pushed tech companies like Meta Platforms Inc. to increase pricing, but Samsung is maintaining the same levels as last year with the Flip 4 and the $1,799 Fold 4.
“Samsung’s setting up an ambitious goal to expand its foldable sales to 10 million this year but it’d be challenging considering the macroeconomic situations,” said Greg Roh, head of technology research at HMC Investment & Securities.
The company sold about 6 million foldable devices last year and is looking for “a breakthrough with foldable phones as low-end phones sales are slumping.”
Prices are going up for Samsung’s accessory lineup, however. The company’s new smartwatch, the Galaxy Watch 5, costs $279 and its Galaxy Buds 2 Pro wireless earphones are $229, both $30 more than last year’s models.
The Watch 5 has a skin temperature sensor, an improved glass curvature for more accurate health readings and Google services like Assistant and Maps.
It’s rated to last for 50 hours on a charge and has a pricier Pro version that can go as long as 80 hours, according to Samsung.
Samsung opens pre-orders on Wednesday and will have its new foldables in stores Aug. 26.
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