Like the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, it seems that S Pen support for the upcoming Galaxy Z Fold 3 will be an optional extra. More intriguingly, it seems that the S Pen in question will be a specific version of the foldable.
This comes from the established leaker Ishan Agarwal who tweeted the following: “Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 will have an ‘S Pen Fold Edition’ for it. Along with a ‘Note Pack’ case for storing it with the phone.”
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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 will have an "S Pen Fold Editon" for it.Along with a "Note Pack" case for storing it with the phone. There will of course be usual Silicon, Leather & Aramid Back cases.Galaxy Z Flip 3 will have Silicon/Transparent cases with Rings & Straps as options.July 24, 2021
This matches up with a render published last month by Evan Blass. As you can see in the picture below, the S Pen has the words “Fold Edition” near the top.
But how would a S Pen Fold Edition be different from previous Samsung stylii? One persistent rumor is that due to the thinness and fragility of foldable screens compared to standard non-folding panels, Samsung will be switching to Active Electrostatic (AES) technology for the Galaxy Z Fold 3, rather than the Electro-Magentic Resonance (EMR) digitizer found on the Galaxy Note series.
The main difference between the two is that EMR uses a digitizer built into the display, meaning the current S Pen doesn’t require its own power source for basic drawing functionality (though it’s still required for additional Bluetooth features (opens in new tab)).
With the Galaxy Note family, charging the S Pen is easy: you just dock it in the phone when not in use. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 reportedly won’t have this luxury, so it’s going to need to charge the optional extra differently — and we can’t look to the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s example here, because the S Pen for that handset didn’t feature Bluetooth and thus didn’t have a battery to charge.
There are a few potential options. One is the example set by Apple with the first generation of Apple Pencil, where the cap could be removed to reveal a lightning connector that could be plugged into the iPad to charge. Another possibility is that the Note Pack case Agarwal mentions isn’t optional, and somehow charges up the S Pen itself.
To complicate matters further, although the talk and renders point to the ‘S Pen Fold Edition,' we know that the device will also support the S Pen Pro thanks to an FCC listing (opens in new tab) directly mentioning the Galaxy Z Fold 3. While details of the S Pen Pro are still a little scarce, we know that it will feature Bluetooth functionality, so will also require charging.
How the S Pen Pro differs from the S Pen Fold Edition, then, remains to be seen. But we imagine we’ll have a better idea when Samsung takes to the stage at its Galaxy Unpacked event on August 11.