Since their debut in 2019, Samsung’s Galaxy Fold and Galaxy Flip foldable phones have been their own mobile category in the European market, and the big question has been whether Apple will follow suit.
Google recently launched its first foldable phone – the Pixel Fold.
Thus, Apple is left alone as the only manufacturer left without a foldable phone, in a market described as narrow, but with good margins and good growth opportunities.
A market that specializes in focusing on a single product in particular
While the first versions of Samsung’s foldable phones were marked by childhood illnesses, the fourth generation Flip and Fold that arrived in August last year were polished and more solid phones.
Foldable phones are still a niche product, but according to Even Amdal, president of Samsung of Norway, they’ve gone from selling in very limited numbers to selling in larger quantities than the discontinued Galaxy Note pen phone.
– They worked very well. Foldables have become an alternative and are now larger than they used to be in the Note class, Amdahl says.
Numbers from IDC show that Samsung dominates the foldable rail market with 11 million units sold in 2022, nearly double from 6.8 million units a year earlier.
A large portion of the volumes is in the Flip, a phone marketed to youth with nifty selfie features priced at NOK 13,500, while the business phone Fold, with a starting price of NOK 21,500, accounts for a smaller share.
With Google now entering the scene with the Pixel Fold, the company has had plenty of time to learn from Samsung’s mistakes, and it looks like Google hit its head with the Pixel 7 series that arrived before Christmas.
The immediate feedback is positive.
With Google coming in, the competition will be even greater and it will have a positive impact on developing software for larger screens — one of the biggest draws against Samsung’s foldable phones to date.
Much is at stake
It remains to be seen if Apple has plans for a foldable iPhone. The company rarely throws itself into a new category, and has little incentive to play around with a series of phones that are by far the market leader in the premium segment.
Analyst Neil Mawston at Strategy Analytics told Bloomberg that Apple has the potential to “make or break” the foldable phone market.
According to Mawston, an early launch can ruin the iPhone’s reputation.
If the company appears on the scene too late, it could be years behind its competitors in a category that has so far demonstrated new and interesting features that consumers were willing to pay for.
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