Is Samsung’s New Foldable Phone Just A Fad?

Published on February 25, 2019

Samsung announced last week that its new Galaxy Fold phone will have a new feature that’s never been seen before in a mobile phone. The products will feature a foldable touchscreen interface that can turn from a phone-sized screen into a tablet-sized screen. The phones were originally teased at CES just a couple of months ago and have been talked about ever since on tech websites and news outlets. The Galaxy Fold, as well as a new model from Huawei, are the first of their kind. The Galaxy Fold was officially unveiled last week at a Samsung event that premiered the new product. Consumers can expect the Galaxy Fold to arrive in-stores in April of this year.

Why Now?

While flip phones are nothing new, foldable touchscreen phones have never been seen before. Critics are weary of the phone’s nearly $2,000 price tag, however. There will be a couple of hurdles both Samsung and Huawei will have to jump through in order to assure that the foldable phone isn’t a one-time fad. At the very least, the phone will eventually have to come down in price if it’s going to become an everyday item. Other concerns about the product are that it may just be a fad that won’t stick around past the immediate future. When it comes to electronics the product should serve a major purpose. The introduction of the touch screen took away a major problem that mobile phones were facing in the smartphone era—the need for a computer mouse or track pad.

Take the Apple Watch, for example, in its first few generations it didn’t seem as if the product was technically necessary for the progression of technology. Cheaper alternatives, like the Fitbit, offered all of the major pros about the product in a smaller model. It wasn’t until Apple made major innovations with the release of the latest Apple Watch that solidified its place as an important piece of tech. The new product provides accessibility to major health monitoring benefits in an affordable piece of wearable tech. It will be hard to say whether it will be able to provide the same sense of fulfillment as other tech products.

Other Benefits

Samsung clearly wanted to beat the race to releasing the first foldable phone to draw attention to the company. In the US at least, no other mobile phone company can compare to Samsung’s innovation in the mobile phone market. Huawei is banned in this country, and Apple hasn’t made any major innovations since Jobs passed away a couple of years ago. The leverage that the Galaxy Fold provides will establish Samsung as a major contributor to tech innovations. Even if the company loses money on the foldable phone—which retails at around $1,800—it’s already done a lot for the company’s reputation in the U.S. market.

Is there a need for the Galaxy Fold? Absolutely not, the touchscreen smartphone has pretty much gotten as good as it’s going to get in terms of hardware. But there is a market for the new piece of tech. The Galaxy fold will hit the consumer market in April of this year.

Julia Sachs is a former Managing Editor at Grit Daily. She covers technology, social media and disinformation. She is based in Utah and before the pandemic she liked to travel.

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