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Samsung thinks it can sell ‘millions’ of foldable smartphones in 2020. Good luck.

November 6th, 2019 at 7:06 PM
Foldable phones

The next time many of you reading this upgrade your smartphone, it’s not likely you’ll choose one with a foldable form factor that manufacturers like Samsung are so keen to see become a mainstream product.

Indeed, Samsung’s launch of its first foldable smartphone this year, the Galaxy Fold, proved to be a bit of a mess, if we’re putting it mildly. Nevertheless, the South Korea-based consumer electronics giant is not giving up — and, in fact, is doubling down on foldables — to the degree that in 2020, the company is reportedly hopeful it can sell at least several million. That’s the ambition, at any rate.

DJ Koh, the CEO of Samsung’s mobile division, laid down a general marker in terms of the company’s thinking at the Samsung AI Forum in Seoul that kicked off in recent days, insisting that the company “will significantly increase the sales of foldable smartphones next year.” That would certainly represent a healthy increase over the 500,000 or so that Samsung is on track to sell by the end of this year, but is it realistic?

A dose of reasonable optimism never hurt anyone, I guess. Perhaps one way Samsung will get there is by releasing multiple foldable models in 2020 — something that’s been rumored to be in the cards since well before now.

In terms of numbers for next year, Koh perhaps wisely avoided setting out a specific target. As we noted last month, the word is that Samsung is aiming for sales of around 6 million foldable phones in 2020, a bit down from an earlier figure of 10 million or so.

In terms of what might be in the works along these lines for release next year, we could see Samsung launch everything from a second-generation model of the Galaxy Fold, along with at least one more such device — a foldable with a clamshell design the company has teased. About the Galaxy Fold 2, the latest word is that it could land sometime in April and feature an 8.1-inch OLED panel, perhaps covered by a thin layer of glass to offer additional protection.

Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.

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