- This year has brought a slew of foldable devices to the international market as electronics giants, mainly Chinese, try to catch Samsung in the smartphone category.
- Analysts have questioned how big the foldable category can really be, given the high price of the devices and their lack of obvious uses.
- Last month, Chinese vendors Honor and Oppo launched their foldable smartphones.
It looks like the year of the foldable – a term used to describe a smartphone with a foldable screen.
This year has brought a slew of foldable devices to the international market as electronics giants, mainly Chinese, try to catch Samsung in the smartphone category.
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Analysts have questioned how big the foldable category can really be, given the high price of the devices and their lack of obvious uses.
“They’re all cute, everyone’s excited about them, but do we really know how big the market is?” Ben Wood, head of research at CCS Insight, told CNBC via email.
“We’re only at the beginning of the journey for the foldable story, which is a far from mature category.”
Foldables hit the global market
Samsung launched its first foldable phone in 2019 and has really made smartphones in this category. These devices have a single screen that can bend, giving users a large display surface in a device that they can carry in their pocket.
Since the Samsung Galaxy Fold was unveiled almost four years ago, the South Korean giant has launched several other devices. The Galaxy Fold series opens outward like a book, while the Galaxy Z Flip opens like a traditional flip phone.
According to Canalys, Samsung will account for 80% of global foldable shipments in 2022. The market expects foldable phone shipments to grow 111% year-on-year to 30 million in 2023.
Yet, according to IDC data, these devices account for just over 1% of the total smartphone market.
That’s a potential development other companies are chasing, as they try to catch up to Samsung.
Last month, Chinese vendor Oppo launched the Find N2 Flip, and Huawei’s spin-off brand Honor introduced its Magic V for international markets.
Lenovo CEO Yuanqing Yang told CNBC on Wednesday that Motorola will introduce a new version of its foldable Razr device later this year. Lenovo owns Motorola.
This comes as there is speculation that Apple could be gearing up to launch a foldable device, although it could be an iPad rather than a smartphone.
Foldables have lost the ‘wow factor’
Honor CEO George Zhao told CNBC in an interview last week that there are still many challenges with foldable devices, particularly surrounding battery life, the weight of the devices and their high cost. Honor’s Magic Vs cost more than $1,600.
But the push by electronics players to launch foldables comes from the desire of these brands to penetrate the premium end of the smartphone market, which SAMSUNG And Apple Overwhelmingly
High-end smartphones – those costing more than $800 – were to account for 18% of the total handset market in 2022, up from 11% in 2020, Canalys data shows.
“As I look at foldable devices, they’re more connected [an] Try to improve brand image by showcasing innovation rather than selling large volumes,” Canalys analyst Ranner Bjørhovde told CNBC via email.
The “wow factor” may be wearing off for consumers now that Samsung has had folding smartphones on the market for a few years, according to Bjørhovde, who said that, ultimately, it will be up to rivals to lower prices to compete with the South Korean giant. May need it. Electronics giant.
The foldable phone “is no longer surprising and unexpected, and a big part of that is Samsung’s huge marketing investment that normalized the form factor,” the analyst said.
Revolutionizing foldables will be near impossible, going forward, he said.
“Development will be more about gradual growth and lowering price points. Lower price points will be especially important for vendors looking to challenge Samsung’s dominance,” Bjørhovde said.
Credit: www.cnbc.com /