Sharper screens and better cameras have not been enough for people to upgrade their phones. Consumers are holding on to phones longer than ever before – up to 4 years according to a Bernstein report from February – and smartphone shipments are down across the globe to levels not seen since 2014.
That means companies like Samsung and Apple are looking for new ways to attract phone buyers.
The Galaxy Fold is a $1,980 example of a new form factor that might get people to care about new phones again… eventually.
Samsung has a history of driving the smartphone market forward with new form factors. People once gawked at the Galaxy Note for having a 5.3-inch screen, which seemed gigantic at the time. But it ushered in a new era of large phones that have been adopted by every phone maker on the planet.
As a major supplier of screen technology, Samsung’s foldable displays are likely to be used in millions of devices in the coming years. And while I can’t recommend it today, it could give you a taste of the future standard as prices drop.
I’ve been using an early European version of the Galaxy Fold for the past several days, which is almost identical to what will be sold in the U.S. save for some of the radios inside. Here’s what I learned.