According to the well-connected leaker Jon Prosser, the two foldable phones have now gone into production — which, if true, would fit with their supposed release date of August 27. But the rumored scale of production is more than a little surprising: Prosser writes that Samsung is ordering between 50,000 and 70,000 units per day with the aim of making 7 million in total.
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That may not sound like many when you consider that Apple apparently sold between 7 and 9 million iPhone 12 units in the handset’s first sales weekend, but foldables with a four-figure price tag are a distinctly less mass market proposition.
Indeed, Samsung only produced 1 to 2 million foldables over the last two generations combined, so if Prosser's information is correct, it would indicate the company is confident that this is the year folding phones go mainstream.
The year of the foldable?
Prosser doesn’t provide a breakdown of the ratio between Folds and Flips, but assuming that overall 7 million figure is correct — and bear in mind this is still a rumor, even if the source has a strong track record — is that a realistic target for Samsung?
There are likely two factors that have dampened foldable sales potential so far: reliability and price. For the first, Samsung has answered its critics in style. While the original Galaxy Fold was famously delayed after review units broke, the eventual released product was far more reliable, and the Galaxy Z Fold 2 improved on the design in every way, with a phone that was both sleeker and significantly more hardy.
Although some doubts may remain about long-term use, the promised 200,000 folds would require you to open and close your phone more than 273 times a day in order to break before the end of a standard two-year contract, which is likely reliable enough for most people.
Price is undoubtedly a stickier factor, with the Galaxy Z Fold 2 costing $1,999 and the Z Flip 5G launching at $1,449 — a big ask when you can buy a Galaxy S21 Ultra for $1,199. A recent rumor that Samsung was planning on tackling this by bringing the next generation in with a 20% price cut felt a bit too good to be true at the time, but sounds a lot more plausible when viewed in conjunction with these reported production numbers.
Suffice it to say that a dramatic price cut feels a lot more believable if Samsung really is ramping up production so drastically: not only would building more foldables bring the cost down per unit, but the company would likely not be producing so many if it wasn’t confident of shifting a significant proportion. A big price cut would be just the thing to drive that confidence.
Hopefully we don’t have long to wait to find out either way. We’ve previously heard rumors that the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 will launch in August, and Prosser now says he had more exact dates — though once again take these with a pinch of salt. According to the leaker, Samsung will present the phones at an Unpacked event on August 3, with a release date 24 days later on August 27. We'll bring you official confirmation as and when we get it.