Samsung’s Galaxy Fold may not be ready, experts warn
Samsung’s Galaxy Fold may not be ready, experts warn Contributed

Doubts emerge over folding phone

IT'S the smartphone seemingly ripped fromBack to the Future- a fold-out, flexible, two-screen, six-camera innovation that looks like no device that came before it.

But technology analysts are already warning the Samsung Galaxy Fold will not be "for everyone" for more reasons than just its high price.

And concerns are being raised over how ready the technology will be for launch, after no release date was named for Australia, and no finished models were available for inspection at Samsung's headline-grabbing launch event this week.

Despite widespread expectations about a bending phone, Samsung captured plenty of attention when it unveiled the Galaxy Fold handset in San Francisco this week.

Samsung Electronics president DJ Koh, who unfolded its large screen on stage, called the device's arrival "the launch of a whole new smartphone category".

"Today marks a new beginning, a shift that will see the smartphone's role at the centre of our lives grow stronger," he said.

The handset features a 4.6-inch screen on its face, but opens like a book to reveal a 7.3-inch Infinity Flex display that can be used like a tablet, and open up to three apps at once.

Gasps were heard from the audience when the company revealed its entry price, however, at $US1980, or what could break the $AU3000 barrier when it arrives in Australia before July.

But Creative Strategies principal analyst Carolina Milanesi said it won't just be the high price of this futuristic smartphone that prevents it becoming "a device for the masses".

It could, however, end up bringing back the idea of a smartphone as a status symbol.

"Is it for everyone? No," she said.

"For this foldable phone, bleeding-edge, early tech adopters will buy it but also people who are after status. It's the most expensive, it's striking, it's the future phone, and some people will want to be the first to own it. It's going to be for people who really love tech and want to experiment, and for people who want to look cool."

But Forrester principal analyst Thomas Husson warned Samsung still had to prove its folding smartphone was more than just a gimmick, even though the Galaxy Flex had the potential to take over from some tablet computers.

"It will take longer for these foldable screens to reinvent the smartphone category," he said.

"However, foldable screens will accelerate the convergence between smartphones, tablets, and laptops, progressively unleashing a new form factor."

Concerns are being raised over how ready the technology will be for launch, after no release date was named for Australia. Picture: AP
Concerns are being raised over how ready the technology will be for launch, after no release date was named for Australia. Picture: AP

But concerns have been raised over just how ready Samsung's folding phone is for launch.

Despite an April 26 worldwide release date, no devices were available to examine or even inspect up close at Samsung's San Francisco event.

And Australian consumers have yet to receive a firm launch date or price for the attention-grabbing smartphone, unlike its more traditional Galaxy S10 cohorts.

Telsyte managing director Foad Fadaghi said even if the Galaxy Fold did arrive in Australia in the first half of the year, as promised, its popularity was not guaranteed.

Australians were expected to buy nine million smartphones in 2019, he said, but many were likely to wait to see how the first-generation folding phone worked, how secure the devices were as a phone and tablet replacement, and whether Samsung was really committed to phones with flexible screens before investing big dollars in the technology.

"First generation devices are always met with some scepticism," he said.

"A number of organisations are placing bets on different types of screen technology but we've yet to see whether consumers are interested in these products."

Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson travelled to San Francisco as a guest of Samsung.



Man guilty of dog rape, sexual assault back in court

premium_icon Man guilty of dog rape, sexual assault back in court

The Bangalow man has pleaded guilty to 96 charges

We will all be getting water restrictions for Christmas: Council

premium_icon We will all be getting water restrictions for Christmas:...

A six week wait for carted water to be delivered to Tweed properties could be...

Fireworks industry ‘devastated’ by fire danger

premium_icon Fireworks industry ‘devastated’ by fire danger

Christmas Carols fireworks axings will hit companies hard