If you had harbored any doubts about what Samsung was planning to focus on at its next Unpacked event next month, allow Samsung's TM Roh to clear up any confusion. The August 10 Galaxy Unpacked event is going to be all about Samsung's foldable phones.
Roh makes that pretty clear in a newly posted blog that went live tonight (July 20), in which Samsung's president and head of its mobility business talks up the success of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3 while promising big things for future versions of the two foldable phones.
"I can’t wait to show you the potential of our new Samsung Galaxy foldables as the ultimate tool for both productivity and self-expression," Roh wrote. "Now, you can do more than you ever thought possible, all at once, on one device."
Roh's blog post clearly is meant to build up anticipation for the next Galaxy Unpacked event, which Samsung just announced yesterday. The online-only event begins streaming at 9 a.m. ET/6 a.m. PT on August 10, which is now less than three weeks away.
But there's more to the post than just hyping up the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Flip 4, neither of which are mentioned by name. Instead, this is Samsung executive proclaiming that foldable phones, thought to be niche devices since the original Galaxy Z Fold's debut, are ready to mainstream.
To that point, Roh says that nearly 10 million foldable phones shipped during 2021, with Samsung leading the pack in sales. That's not a huge number considering that Samsung is the world's leading phone maker. (To put that 10 million figure in context, Samsung also said earlier this year that it had shipped 10 million Galaxy S20 FE models.) But the number of foldable shipments for the industry does represent a 300% increase from 2020's total, so Samsung is understandably bullish about the prospect of generating more interest in foldable phones.
It's the Galaxy Z Flip that's driving those numbers, with Roh saying that the foldable flip phone makes up about 70% of Samsung's foldable customer base. That's hardly a surprise, as the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is the first foldable phone to cost less than $1,000. The Galaxy Z Fold 3, in contrast, debuted at $,1799 last year.
In an encouraging sign that Samsung recognizes the appeal of lower-cost foldables, Roh believes that Samsung's devices will gain even wider acceptance going forward.
"We are reaching the moment where these foldable devices are becoming widespread and staking a bigger claim in the overall smartphone market," he said.
Rumors point to both the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Flip 4 getting a more powerful Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset, which also offers better power efficiency. That would be welcome for both phones, which struggle to get through the day on a single charge. Samsung is also reportedly tinkering with the hinge on both phones, which could mean a lighter, more portable design — great news for the Fold in particular, which is pretty bulk even when folded shut.
For his part, Roh seems to be suggesting that new features are coming to Samsung's foldables, which could herald new ways of using the devices. While mum on specifics, the Samsung executive promises "advancements in every detail" that will deliver new experiences to foldable users. "I am excited to see people to discover new ways to do more of the things they love with the new foldable," Roh said.
Though the August 10 unveiling of any new devices is still a few weeks away, Samsung is already letting customers reserve a spot for pre-ordering products announced at Galaxy Unpacked. People registering to preorder are eligible for up to $200 in rebates, Samsung says.
Editors' Note: An earlier version of this story attributed 10 million foldable shipments to Samsung; the company has since clarified that the figure was industry-wide, though Samsung does account for the majority of foldable shipments.