Rebecca Hirst, Samsung marketing director, unveils the Samsung's Galaxy Z Flip folding smartphone in San Francisco Photo: AFP

Samsung joins the fold with Galaxy Z Flip smartphone


Samsung on Tuesday unveiled its second folding smartphone, a Z Flip handset with a lofty price tag aimed at "trendsetters."

The smartphone flips open, like a case, opening into a 6.7-inch screen, and fits in a pocket when folded. Ultrathin glass used for the screen can be folded and unfolded more than 200,000 times and resists scratches, according to Samsung.

The Galaxy Z Flip will be available beginning Friday at a starting price of $1,380, head of Samsung product marketing in Rebecca Hirst said at a San Francisco unveiling.

"It changes everything -- space, size, and the very way we use it," Hirst said as she held a Z Flip in the palm of a hand. "The Z Flip is a statement smartphone; it is for trendsetters and trailblazers."

When closed, the Z Flip displays notifications such as time and phone calls, and can still be used to take photos.

The new device comes amid growing interest in folding handsets, and a similar "flip" Razr device recently introduced by Motorola.

Samsung launched its first foldable handset, the Galaxy Fold, in September after faulty screens forced an embarrassing delay of the release of the $2,000 device.

Folding smartphones have been introduced by Chinese makers Huawei and Royole.

Analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy said Samsung was moving ahead of iPhone maker Apple, which he does not expect to develop foldable screens in a handset for at least three years.

"I think that Apple is a bit risk averse when it comes to designs these days," Moorhead said.

Samsung also introduced a new Galaxy S 20 Ultra flagship model for its lineup of smartphones synched to new 5G telecommunication networks.

"5G will completely change how we communicate, how we game, and how we engage with the world around us," Samsung head of US mobile product management Drew Blackard said during the presentation. "This is the year of Galaxy 5G, and it begins right here with the Galaxy S 20."

Unlike rivals, Samsung has introduced a line of three 5G smartphones instead of just one model, aiming to be in the lead in that market, according to analyst Jack Gold of J. Gold Associates.

Galaxy S 20 models boast high definition 8K quality camera capabilities, and the Ultra model zoom magnifies views up to 100 times, according to demonstrations.

Galaxy S 20 5G models have a starting price of $999 and will be released on March 6, according to the South Korean electronics giant, which has been at or near the top of the smartphone market in recent years.

Samsung also announced new collaborations with streaming television titan Netflix and Xbox video game console maker Microsoft.

"We believe this is a significant partnership that will provide millions of Samsung users around the globe the best entertainment experience," said Netflix chief marketing officer Jackie Lee-Joe.

"Great stories come from anywhere and should be loved everywhere."

Netflix will be providing Samsung S 20 phones to creators of some of its original shows to make content for the global streaming platform.

An Xbox car racing game, "Forza Street," has been tailored for play on S 20 phones, according to Samsung.

"This is just the beginning of or gaming partnership with Xbox," said head of US mobile channel marketing David Park.

Samsung also touted working closely with Google to integrate the internet giant's technology into its new smartphones, such as tailoring YouTube content for display on the Z Flip.

"I think the partnership play was very strong today," said Creative Strategies analyst Carolina Milanesi. "Having Google here is a big deal. It seems they are getting closer together; there was a time when Samsung wanted to build its own ecosystem."

Barriers put in place by the U.S. government to Google providing its technology to Chinese smartphone maker Huawei might have played into the tighter relationship with Samsung, Milanesi reasoned.

© 2020 AFP

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

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I still remember the commercials from when I was studying in Korea back in 2010. Samsung was working on the folding screens tech back then and planned on unveiling it in 2020. They released it a lot earlier than projected. The S20 and all its variations are beautiful. But these new price tags are outrageous. There is no smartphone that is worth $1,600. I feel like that just picked that price tag because of apple. The high end Note 10+ 512GB 5G was $1300

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Consoles, desktops and laptops are for gaming.

TVs are for watching UHD content.

Phones are for calls, messaging and impromptu photos/video.

Combining all these in one device is a compromise, not least because (for gaming and UHD content) the screens are too small. Throw in very compromised game control and you have something that is a jack of all trades but a master of none..... all at ridiculous (forced) prestige prices.

People aren't stupid. Maybe Samsung should consider that before trying too hard to appeal to 'trendsetters'.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I just hope they spend R&D on the BUILD QUALITY and DURABILITY of the device. That's why I dislike Samsung and I much prefer LG (you could even call me an LG fan) when it comes to South Korean electronics. Samsung has a serious tendency of shooting itself in its foot. Galaxy Note 7, the 1st gen Fold, just to name a few.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Those new Samsung flagship phones are NOT for the average Japanese people - cuz they can't afford it. But Samsung has A Series phones that are more suitable for them. Samsung even removed "Samsung" logo on the phone so that the Japanese can buy them guilt-free lol

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Jeff KoFeb. 13  05:40 am JST

Samsung even removed "Samsung" logo on the phone so that the Japanese can buy them guilt-free lol

Actually, Samsung removed their name from the phone and only use the model name due to conventional practice in Japan that goes back many decades, the most common use being removing the Toyota, Nissan etc badge from the front of the vehicle and replacing it with a unique emblem (such as a "C" mark for the Corolla).

It's got nothing to do with being "guilt-free" and everything to do with establishing a instantly memorable identity for a flagship product.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

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