This could finally be the year we get a cheap foldable phone out of Samsung, with evidence mounting that a third foldable device could join the Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Galaxy Z Flip 6 when those devices appear in the second half of 2024.
The latest sign comes from a Winfuture.de report which claims that Samsung is "definitely" working on a cheaper version of the Galaxy Z Fold. Its evidence comes from export data indicating that small quantities of components are being put to use on a Galaxy Z Fold alternative. Reportedly, Samsung is developing a prototype with an internal model number of Q6A. The Galaxy Z Fold 6's model number is supposedly Q6.
This isn't the first time we've heard that a cheaper Galaxy Fold was in the works. A report out of Korea made a similar claim last week.
There's certainly room for a less expensive version of the Fold. The current model, the Galaxy Z Fold 5, costs $1,799, the same price as the Google Pixel Fold. The OnePlus Open, our pick for the best foldable phone, is cheaper, but only by $100. Having a version of the Fold that costs less would broaden the device's appeal, with other Fold customers still opting for the more fully featured version.
Reports earlier this week suggested that Samsung was trying out new methods for producing the bezel for its foldable phones, with inkjet printing emerging as a way to possible lower the cost of manufacturing the Fold. Presumably. lowering the component costs of a future Galaxy Z Fold would allow Samsung to sell the phone at a lower price.
This Winfuture.de report indicates that the lower-cost version of the Galaxy Z Fold would have a horizontally folding screen. The current Galaxy Z Fold 5 opens up like a book to reveal its larger interior display. The website speculates the discount version could be called the Galaxy A Fold or marketed as a Fan Edition device in the same vein as the Galaxy S23 FE is a lower-cost version of last year's Galaxy S flagships.
Otherwise, there's very little information on how a lower-cost Galaxy Fold would differ from the full-price model. Possibilities include different-sized screens, less powerful chipsets, fewer cameras and different storage options.
The past year saw more competitors enter the foldable phone market, an area where Samsung had effectively been the sole player since the first Galaxy Fold arrived. And more rivals could be on the way, as rumors continually suggest that an iPhone Flip could arrive by next year. Before that happens, Samsung would clearly benefit from giving shoppers more options at lower prices.
Samsung typically shows off its latest foldable phones at a Galaxy Unpacked event in August. Expect more on potential additions to the foldable lineup between now and then.
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Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.