It’s been simple to dismiss folding telephones as the stuff of science fiction, even after they turned a actuality two years in the past. They had been too expensive, too massive, too compromised to make sense for many. Some flips instantly flopped. However in 2021, a folding cellphone seems to have simply killed off Samsung’s long-running Galaxy Observe — and I’m beginning to marvel in the event that they’ll destroy the flagship Galaxy S as effectively.
That’s as a result of final month, Samsung promised to make foldables mainstream. And at $999, with fewer compromises than ever, Samsung’s new Z Flip 3 sounds dangerously shut to an entire substitute for Samsung’s $999 Galaxy S21 Plus. For a similar value, they’ve each acquired 6.7-inch 120Hz AMOLED screens, the newest Snapdragon 888 processors, the identical reminiscence and storage choices, the identical water resistance, and roughly the identical dimensions, simply with a barely lighter body and smaller battery, and one fewer digicam round again.
Besides one of those telephones awesomely folds all the way down to half its dimension, and the opposite one doesn’t. Assuming Samsung’s new durability improvements aren’t simply discuss and the plastic-covered display screen doesn’t really feel bizarre, I do know which one I’d choose!
Would Samsung actually axe its flatscreen Galaxy S in favor of foldables, although? It’s not as far-fetched as you would possibly suppose — as a result of after two years promoting a ridiculous variety of “flagship” telephones, the Galaxy S handsets are getting hemmed in on all sides.
In 2019, the corporate tried to promote as many as 10 completely different flagship telephones all over the world, together with 4 completely different Galaxy S10s and 4 completely different Galaxy Notes with largely equivalent core specs. 2020 introduced 11 completely different flagships, in case you rely the Galaxy S10 Lite and Observe 10 Lite. 5 flagship telephones should still be too many in 2021, if three of them aren’t promoting notably effectively.
Samsung Galaxy flagships, 2019-2021
|S10 Plus||S20 Plus||S21 Plus|
|S10E||S20 Extremely||S21 Extremely|
|S10 5G||S20 FE||Z Fold 3|
|Observe 10||Observe 20||Z Flip 3|
|Observe 10 Plus||Observe 20 Extremely|
|Observe 10 Plus 5G||Observe 10 Lite|
|Observe 10 KlaytnPhone||S10 Lite|
|Fold 5G||Z Flip|
|Z Flip 5G|
It’s not like Samsung could be killing off its bestselling handsets by ditching the Galaxy S, by the way in which. The company’s midrange A-series phones are literally its gross sales champs, after Samsung declared it would prioritize those handsets in 2018. In the meantime, gross sales of Samsung’s Galaxy S telephones have reportedly plummeted 47 percent over the past two generations, with the Galaxy S21 on monitor to be much more of a disappointment than the Galaxy S20 was the yr earlier than.
Does Samsung want the Galaxy S any greater than it wants the Galaxy Observe? For smartphone lovers who need the very best of the whole lot — now together with the power to fold out right into a pill — the Z Fold is already taking the place of the Observe. Subsequent yr, with some digicam upgrades, it may theoretically dethrone Samsung’s “Extremely” telephones, too. That might go away room for the Flip to grow to be Samsung’s new default flagship, with folding as the “Next Big Thing” that Apple doesn’t offer its customers (a minimum of not yet). For everybody else, there’s Samsung’s more and more highly effective Galaxy A sequence, which can probably get much more aggressive now that Xiaomi has overtaken Samsung in Europe.
If it occurs, I’d anticipate a transition interval: the flagship cellphone class nonetheless begins round $700, not the $1,000 that Samsung is asking for the Flip 3, so the corporate would in all probability preserve round a Galaxy S22 FE at a minimal. (The Galaxy S21 FE is still pending.)
And even when Samsung does determine to deemphasize flatscreen flagships, that doesn’t imply the Galaxy S title will essentially go away. It would simply grow to be what Samsung calls its folding telephones sometime. Galaxy S is the model that introduced Samsung into the highlight over the previous decade, so there’s worth and precedent to switch the title to a brand new design: when Samsung first started experimenting with curved glass screens, it began as the Galaxy Edge, however these curves turned the norm with the Galaxy S8. If Samsung makes foldables the brand new regular, we would see the identical.
All I do know for certain: Samsung’s bloated lineup of flagships was getting fairly ridiculous — keep in mind the Note 10 specifically for blockchain? — and it doesn’t should be that means.