SAN FRANCISCO – Samsung on Tuesday unveiled a new foldable phone, the Galaxy Z Flip, its second attempt to sell consumers on phones with bendable screens and clamshell designs.
The phone can unfold from a small square upward into a traditional smartphone form, and will go on sale Friday starting at $1,380. The company announced the phone at a product event in San Francisco.
Samsung's first foldable phone, the Galaxy Fold, went on sale in September after delays and reports of screens breaking. The Fold, which carries a price tag of nearly $2,000, folds at a vertical crease rather than horizontally as a flip-phone design would. Motorola has also taken the flip-phone approach with its new $1,500 Razr.
The foldable phones represent manufacturers' attempt to energize a market where sales have slowed. Many consumers are holding onto old phones longer, in part because new phone features offer increasingly marginal benefits. But these foldable models come with higher price tags and are likely to appeal for now mostly to tech enthusiasts and others at the forefront of technology.
“While there's a lot of excitement around this new category, it is still early days and they will evolve significantly.” said Paolo Pescatore, an analyst at PP Foresight. “While these innovative new designs are nice to have, they're not must-have, sought-after features among users.”
The Z Flip can stay open at different angles for watching videos or taking photos. When the phone is closed, it will take selfies and display notifications in a small window on the cover. Unfolded, its screen measures 6.7 inches diagonally.
Samsung says it added fibers to the gap between the hinge and the phone to keep out dust and improve hinge function, likely to address shortcomings of the Galaxy Fold.