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Samsung is teasing an exciting future for foldable phones in 2021

Published Jul 29th, 2021 7:15PM EDT
Foldable Phones 2021
Image: Samsung via Evan Blass

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Samsung will unveil the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 foldable phones on August 11th. The company announced its press event a few days ago. Samsung also just confirmed some of the top Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 rumors. The Samsung foldables already sound more exciting than ever. But Samsung just teased exciting foldable phone news for the remainder of 2021 in its latest quarterly earnings report. Samsung refers to foldable phones quite a few times in the release, and it’s not just addressing its own phones. But Samsung plans to profit from all of them. The most exciting detail in the release is that Samsung wants to “mainstream” foldables.

If you’re excited about foldable phones, then you’re also aware of the two main problems with these devices: Durability and price. Foldable screens are more prone to damage than those of standard phones. And these handsets are significantly more expensive than traditional handsets.

The next-gen Z Fold and Z Flip phones should feature better durability than previous models. Samsung already confirmed that. And rumors say the handset will deliver IPX8 water resistance, which is a great feature to have on a phone with a hinge with plenty of moving parts.

The foldable phones of 2021

Samsung hasn’t addressed the Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 prices so far, and we’ve been getting mixed signals. Some rumors say the phones will be more affordable than before, but others indicate the Fold 3 will still be quite expensive. Samsung’s program that allows you to trade two devices for a foldable phone also suggests the price might be a problem.

That’s why the “mainstreaming” foldable devices in Samsung’s press release is so exciting. Samsung is aware of the price issue and plans to fix it. You can’t mainstream anything if that device is too expensive for most people. Here’s what Samsung actually said in the quarterly earnings report about its plans for the rest of 2021:

With successful launch of the new foldable smartphones with further enhanced user experience, the Company will solidify its leadership in the premium segment by mainstreaming the foldable category while continuing the sales momentum of Galaxy S series throughout the year.

Samsung reported record figures for the June quarter, including nearly $11 billion in profit from over $55.5 billion in revenue. But the mobile division still took a hit. Samsung blamed it on the chip shortage and the COVID outbreaks in Asia that slowed manufacturing. “Mainstreaming” 2021 foldable phones are part of Samsung’s plan to improve the performance of its smartphone business:

The Company will strive to achieve solid revenue and profits by enhancing the competitiveness of its smartphone lineup with the launch of new foldable models and expansion of mass-market 5G models. Also, it will further increase sales of the Galaxy Ecosystem products.

It’s not just the Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3

You can’t mainstream foldable phones without improving the entire niche. Samsung’s upcoming Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 phones aren’t the only new foldable phones launching in late 2021. Previous rumors said that several vendors are planning foldable phone launches for this year, including Google. The first Pixel Fold might use a few key components that Samsung manufactures, including the foldable OLED screen and the foldable Ultra-Thin Glass panels. That’s what rumors said.

Without naming names, Samsung just confirmed that it would supply essential display parts to other vendors:

Looking ahead to the second half, Samsung expects demand to recover for mobile displays as major customers are planning to launch new flagship models, including high-value products such as foldable phones.

There’s another exciting detail in the display section of Samsung’s press release. It concerns UPC, or Under Panel Camera. That’s the type of main selfie camera tech that we’ll supposedly see on Z Fold 3:

Samsung will continue to strengthen its market leadership by introducing new technologies such as Under Panel Camera (UPC) and low-power consumption related ones.

Sadly, Samsung doesn’t connect foldable phones coming in 2021 to the new UPC tech. We’ll just have to wait and see how many new foldable handsets will feature UPC screens this year.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.