The Hustle

After months of hype, Samsung wins the race to unfold a pricey new phone category

After months of competition with other phonemakers, Samsung became the first company to sell a phone with a foldable touchscreen.

February 21, 2019

After months of hype, yesterday Samsung released the world’s first folding phone, the Galaxy Fold.

The Fold got mixed reviews from early users. But early reactions aren’t always a good litmus test when it comes to consumer tech.

The frontier of foldables

The Fold features several eye-popping numbers: The phone has 2 touchscreens, 6 cameras, a 7.3-inch display… and a $1,980 price tag (even more than Apple’s XS-ive starting iPhone price of $1,099).

Rival phonemakers have “teased” their own foldable prototypes for months — Xiaomi and Lenovo both leaked their prototypes, and Huawei claims to be on track to release its foldable this year.

But now that Samsung has won the race to get a product to market, the next big question is obvious: Will consumers pay $2k for a phone that is also a tablet?

Now, we wait to see how consumer tastes unfold

Many people praised the phone’s features (the phone can run 3 apps simultaneously on its larger screen), but others ridiculed the phone’s massive price tag and unusual design.

But even though consumers often don’t like change at first, the market has a short memory: Apple’s Airpods were widely mocked when released 2 years ago, but now they’re a massive success that many users can’t imagine living without.

Despite the flurry of angsty tweets, Samsung could have the last laugh as the future unfolds.

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