The $ 1,800 Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 is deliberately out of reach

At the Unpacked event last week, Samsung unveiled its new flagship folding phone, the Galaxy Z Fold 4, which adds better multitasking software, a slimmer design, and a more durable casing. But one thing that has remained the same is the staggering $ 1,800 price tag – which few consumers can afford. But this exclusivity is exactly why Fold 4 exists.

Keeping the Z Fold 4 at about double the price of other premium phones can seem a hassle when Samsung wants foldable phones to become more popular, TM Roh’s CEO said during Unpacked. I argued that price cuts would be the best solution Samsung could fight Apple this holiday season. With Samsung keeping the price of the Z Fold 4 fixed, it’s clear the company is pleased that this is a niche device only available to deep-pocket tech enthusiasts.

With Fold 4 it sits at the top of a tier that has no real rivals. It’s basically a Ferrari among Mercedes and BMW. Creating this level of exclusivity is absolutely essential, giving Samsung an exciting and aspiring product that generates hype and interest in the entire range. Reducing the price by a few hundred dollars will not make a difference, IDC research director Nabila Popal said.

Keeping the Z Fold 4 at $ 1,800 is “the right move for me, even if it won’t be available to the masses,” Popal said.

This dynamic, which runs counter to the idea that a cheaper foldable product might spark interest in the category, is one of the problems faced by the entire area. Folding occupies an exciting niche in the telephone industry that has witnessed an endless parade of gray metal and glass plates for more than a decade. But the high price keeps them from exploding.

The only answer is to slowly build market and interest by combining exciting but less achievable options like the Z Fold 4 and the relatively inexpensive Z Flip 4.

Samsung is hoping that the dynamic design of the Z Fold 4 – which continues to impress live – will provide the company with a pop ahead of Apple’s own event next month and spark the overall excitement of folding.

Samsung relies on the Z Flip series to sell vibration foldable, transitional phones that change shape. And Samsung has a lot to do as they are still lacking in the wild, and research firm IDC estimates that just over 7 million foldable smartphones were sold in 2021, compared to 1.3 billion smartphones sold last year.

From a market perspective, the little volume that the Z Fold 4 can get could help Samsung regain some of the global share of the high-end phones Apple sells seven out of every 10 Premium phones worth $ 800 and above worldwide.

Screenshot by CNET

No price reductions when parts are expensive

While price cuts would help Samsung make its foldable phones more popular, the company may have little choice but to keep prices constant. Unlike truly popular products such as Samsung’s Galaxy S series, which have flat-panel displays and components used in many other smartphones, a small number of foldable parts sold each year contain specialized parts.

“This means that the very specialized components required … are still only produced in small quantities and therefore are likely still very expensive,” said Bob O’Donnell, Technalysis Research analyst.

This leads to a chicken and egg problem that affects any specialized device: parts cannot become cheaper until they are manufactured on a large scale, and there is no point in producing them on a large scale, while consumers buy too little expensive devices. using them Parts. This is the reason so few phone makers make folding, including Apple, O’Donnell said.

“We can’t really ignore the fact that the supply chain isn’t really product-ready at Apple level, and that’s one reason Apple doesn’t [made a foldable] or, O’Donnell said.

Samsung shares the difference with the Z Flip 4, a foldable flap that takes up half the surface of a ‘flat’ smartphone when closed, but folds out to show an internal screen as large as a regular phone display. Samsung sees the Z Flip 4 as an “input device” that turns brave buyers into folding lifeguards, which is a ramp for consumers to eventually move to the larger and more expensive Z Fold line.

Samsung says the Z Flip is the better-selling series, accounting for 70% of the company’s folding material, but both devices cater to different demographics. The Z Flip is a stylish but ultimately only shrink version of the typical “flat” smartphone, not the younger edition of the productivity-enhancing Z Fold devices that develop into tablet-sized screens.

More and more assemblies are sold each year, and IDC predicts that by 2025, shipments will increase to 25 million assemblies. It is difficult to predict whether this is enough to allow for cheaper folding. Samsung has at least gotten creative by offering foldable materials with more value.

Facebook network on Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

Facebook on Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4.

Screenshot by CNET

Cheaper folding thanks to the exchange and contracts with carriers

The industry is working to make foldable materials something. You can buy the Galaxy Z Fold 4 for less than $ 1,800 thanks to Samsung’s generous exchange values ​​and various carrier agreements. Samsung retains its elite price tag, operators get more customers logged into their services, and customers receive the next evolution of phones.

Samsung’s swap deals cut the Z Fold 4’s list price by $ 1,000 if you ship your older Z Fold 3, Z Fold 2, or this year’s Galaxy S22 Ultra. But the swap values ​​are still fairly generous with the original Z Fold or other Samsung flagship phones of the past few years. Apple’s most expensive phones also have decent value in replacement, but you’ll get almost nothing for Google, Motorola, LG, or OnePlus phones.

Carriers can also save money on Z Fold 4, with Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile offering various swap deals to cut the price by up to $ 1,000. Verizon also offers a $ 800 discount on the second Z Fold 4 after purchasing the first, if your household needs two foldable ones.

Another option is to wait for Black Friday or the holiday season when Samsung may introduce new discount offers on its foldable copies.

Just don’t hold your breath for Samsung to discount its most premium mobile device. Unlike the Z Flip 3 he got $ 150 price cut after its successor was unveiled this week, the Z Fold 3 has the same $ 1,800 price tag on Samsung’s website it had when it was launched a year ago. With high component prices, years of research and development, and a lack of competition, Samsung is not facing a lot of downward pressure.

Samsung “is currently a leader in this field and can afford to download the bonus before other Android players enter this space, and possibly even Apple in a few years,” Popal said.

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