Are Foldable Phones Slated To Become More Affordable In The Coming Days?

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- Updated: 2nd Nov 2023, 15:59 IST
  • 1
    Will Foldables Get Cheaper in the Near Future?
    • Are Price Drops Likely For 2024?
    • Why the Galaxy Z FE Might Bring a Revolution

A Few years ago, if you talked about foldable smartphones, most people would reminisce about the clamshell keypad phones they owned. From Motorola to Samsung, big brands offered foldables. These phones, tiny in size, with small keyboards were fashion statements. Nowadays, when using the term foldable, a different image comes to mind. Today, one typically associates a foldable phone with a handset with a display that can be folded into two halves. This may be vertical in nature, or horizontal. The advent of the modern-day foldables began in 2018, with the pioneer being Samsung.

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These foldables are considered to be quite useful because for some they act as easy tools for simple tasks, which can be compressed into a small form factor. For others, they are tools that can expand into a bigger screen to offer more real estate to get tasks done. These can vary from note-taking, and multitasking to watching media content. What foldables basically offer are more use cases than a normal typical glass slab.

Now, with years of development in foldable screens, there are handsets that offer you primarily two ways of folding a device. You can fold it inward or in a vertical manner, collapsing the display into a small, pocket-friendly device. The other way is to fold outward to expand into a tablet-like device.

Also Read: Best Foldable Phones To Buy Today

Will Foldables Get Cheaper in the Near Future?

are-foldable-tablets-better-than-foldable-phones

With advancements in technology comes a reduction in prices. A few years ago, phones without notches or even thick bezels were unimaginable. Today, bar the lowest-grade phones, most have slim bezels or notches. This logic should apply to foldables, but, to some, this might seem to be an outlier. 

Why? Well, it seems that there is no steep reduction in prices in line for the foldable devices. According to a Senior Analyst at Counterpoint, Jene Park, the parts, which are intricate in nature will not allow for a steep drop in prices for foldables. Park, in an interview, mentioned that these devices have an additional sub-display, with the primary display itself being almost twice as large as a regular handset. This structure, whilst new and attractive is also expensive. This is especially the case in comparison to generic handsets.

This case can be seen with Samsung’s offerings themselves, with both the Z-Flip, which folds inwards and the Z-Fold, which expands into a tablet facing issues. Park mentioned that the price of foldables remains high due to the R&D or Research and Development required to make such innovative displays. Ensuring their structural rigidity is a different task altogether. This too requires lots of research and techniques.

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Other brands too, like OnePlus, and Motorola have not reduced prices severely. Apart from one-off discount sales or other promotional events, we seldom see a drop in prices. The primary factor again is that of the R&D that goes into the development of these devices. Samsung may still have some leeway owing to it being a primary market player, but newer entrants will find it much harder to penetrate this market. They lack the experience or tools required to mass-produce such handsets at lower costs.

However, it is good to see brands gearing up and making their own foldable devices. A few years ago, the only entrants were Samsung and Motorola, with a clear monopoly for the former. Now, new players are foraying into foldables, which, at some point should lead to increased competition. This competition usually results in price drops, as was the case for mid-rangers in India.

Also Read: Foldable Tablets Better Than Foldable Phones? Here’s Our Take On It!

Are Price Drops Likely For 2024?

Samsung has made improvements over the years with better hinges, but this has not led to a reduction in prices. One cannot expect steep drops for these advanced phones. The new fold devices at least shut completely, unlike previous models which had small gaps. Furthermore, the hinge now comes with fewer parts, which makes it less likely to break over time. 

Despite these advancements and improvements and the passage of time, prices have still not dropped. A consumer analyst mentioned that despite these advancements, the prices for foldables have more or less remained the same. 

With this high price, consumers expect top-tier specifications, which, more or less most companies offer. Furthermore, they stated that merely by improving productivity and making for a better experience does justify the price bump for those who can afford to buy an expensive phone.

However, there might be some good news in store for foldable lovers. After the recent launch of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold and Z Flip 5, there are rumours of a budget foldable. A notable leaker, @Tech_Reve has claimed that Samsung has plans for a budget foldable. This device will sport the moniker Galaxy Z FE.

Why the Galaxy Z FE Might Bring a Revolution

samsung galaxy z flip 5

For those unaware, the FE series of Samsung smartphones is their budget line, much like the A series from Google. The S21 FE was quite popular and the recent S23 FE is the latest itinerant of the FE lineup. 

Rumours suggest that this foldable FE device could be available for as little as $799 (Rs. 66,000 approx), marking a steep decline in price from the regular Z Fold 5 which costs Rs. 1,55,000. Even if it is a clamshell, it will be cheaper than the Z Flip which retails for Rs. 1,00,000. Do note that this foldable will come after the launch of the 6th-gen foldable, so a mid-2024 release is expected.

If this rumoured FE foldable does come to fruition, then it will be great for the foldable market. Having an experienced player like Samsung offer such a handset for the price of generic flagships will definitely get the consumer thinking. Add to that the benefits of a foldable, then it makes choosing a glass slab that much more confusing.

Also Read: Are Foldable Phones The Next Big Change In Mobile Industry?



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Highlights of the Story

  • Foldable smartphones are becoming quite popular as these can transform to offer a bigger screen just like a tablet.
  • Price point of these foldable devices has been quite high and these might get cheaper in the near future

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