The ongoing rumor is that the Galaxy Fold 2 may get its own S-Pen while Galaxy Z Flip will be introduced alongside the Galaxy S20 next month. Is Samsung stealthily phasing us into a foldable future?
Maybe! It seems that there are some parallelisms being established so we can transition to that future, as Dutch site LetsGoDigital points out.
The clearest hint is adding the S Pen to the next version of the Galaxy Fold, as the Korean newspaper The Elec claims Samsung will do. It makes sense that the next generation of the phone-tablet transformer gets the S Pen.
A question of enhanced usability
The Note — despite its relativley big size — it’s still too small to take advantage of the pen like an iPad or Samsung tablet can. It’s also, at this point, way too similar to the Galaxy S line — which is why the rumor has been that Samsung may phase out the Note and fuse both lines together.
But positioning the Galaxy Fold 2 as the folding heir to the Note makes even more sense. A Fold with S-Pen will become a more convenient, no compromises version of the Note, which will click for the advanced users that bought the Note in the first place.
As for the Galaxy Z Flip, the fact that it is debuting alongside the S20 is a clear indication of what Samsung is trying to do here. While, right now, the Z Flip will have less power than the S20, it is clearly a folding Galaxy S. Yes, Samsung has sacrificed much of its power to be able to keep the price low enough to allow early adopters to buy in. However, it’s not hard to imagine both phones getting feature parity in two or three years.
Then, with all the foldable technology kinks ironed out, thanks to new display and mechanical advances, the S lines and the Z Flip will basically become the same phone — except the latter will be a lot more convenient. Why would anyone choose a hard candybar that can barely fit in your pocket vs one that halves in size?
A new sales Big Bang
It’s clear that the Korean company is betting a lot of money into the foldable line. Samsung Mobile’s ex-CEO DJ Koh said that the company was going to keep pushing the foldable market with new models. The new CEO has no reason to change that path because it makes sense from a sales growth point of view.
Remember that the current phone scene has turned into a commodity marketplace with incremental updates that have led to stagnant sales. The advent of 5G will, according to analysts, boost sales in 2020 and following years. But that will not lead to the same Big Bang-sized sales explosion that the iPhone brought upon us.
Samsung, Apple and the rest need new pastures — and Samsung is betting that a new phone form factor could be the key to another renaissance.
And again, the key for this new explosion will be clearly enhanced usability without any compromise in terms of fragility or camera functions. Once the foldables take off, that’s next. And after that, everyone will have a foldable because they all just make a lot more sense.
The future of Samsung — and the phone industry — is right in front of us.
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Jesus Diaz founded the new Sploid for Gawker Media after seven years working at Gizmodo, where he helmed the lost-in-a-bar iPhone 4 story and wrote old angry man rants, among other things. He's a creative director, screenwriter, and producer at The Magic Sauce, and currently writes for Fast Company and Tom's Guide.