Samsung’s first foldable smartphone has been met with a mixed reaction by industry experts.
Rob Baillie, mobile expert at comparemymobile.com said questions remained around the viability of the device.
“There have been many rumours floating around the first key folding device on the market — what tech it’s going to incorporate, what the USPs (unique selling propositions) are beyond the novelty and, importantly, how much it’s going to cost,” he said.
“With the ‘Fold’ first look, which they boldly claim is not a smartphone but actually represents the invention of a completely new category, a nice caveat to avoid it being benchmarked against smartphones on price, not all these questions have been answered.
“We’ll now be looking towards other brands, such as Huawei, to how they’ve approached it, but it still feels too soon to tell if the fold really is the future or just a sparkly gimmick to put some distance between Samsung and its competitors.”
Industry analyst Julie Ask from Forrester said the Galaxy Fold also faced some challenges over its price. “If people thought the iPhone X was expensive … US$1 980 is nearly double.
“If people view it as an iconic device, if there are awesome new experiences, and If they find a market for the hybrid device of tablet and smartphone, which is a similar price point to buying both with the added convenience of one device, it may get traction.
Traction in the enterprise
“I could see traction with it in the enterprise – people in the field especially.”
On Samsung’s new S10 range, Baillie said: “The Galaxy S10 handsets are impressive and had the capability to excite people without the Fold stealing its thunder.
“The world’s first ultrasonic fingerprint scanner is going to appeal to many consumers, as is the update on the next generation pro-grade camera that is going to give consumers access to an ultra-wide camera field, with the suggestion that it will allow anyone the ability to take professional calibre shots from their smartphone.
“Our research over the past few months has shown that consumers aren’t rushing to get the very latest handset anymore so the question will remain on whether these innovations do enough to draw people from their familiar phones that are doing everything they need. The slump in Apple sales is not promising.
“Unlike Apple, though, Samsung aren’t putting all their eggs in the flagship S10 basket, with a full suite of products to suit all consumers’ price points and needs available — and three price points to spread the risk.”