The Korea Herald


Samsung out to reclaim foldable crown

By Jie Ye-eun

Published : June 3, 2024 - 15:43

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Samsung Electronics' latest Galaxy Z Fold5 (left) and Galaxy Z Flip5 smartphones (Samsung Electronics) Samsung Electronics' latest Galaxy Z Fold5 (left) and Galaxy Z Flip5 smartphones (Samsung Electronics)

Competition in the growing foldable smartphone market is set to get fiercer.

Samsung Electronics is out to regain market leadership with a new foldable phone series next month, while Chinese rivals are trying to catch up with the Korean tech giant’s market dominance in the sector.

Lenovo-owned Motorola has reportedly passed the Chinese government’s certification and is expected to roll out its new flagship foldable phone, Razr 50 Ultra, within the next month, according to industry sources on Monday.

Sources said the Motorola Razr 50 Ultra is expected to maintain the design of its predecessor, Razr 50 Ultra, but its performance will be significantly improved with a bigger external screen and improved cameras, they added.

Another Chinese vendor, Xiaomi, is preparing its first clamshell-type foldable phone, the Xiaomi Mix Flip, which has passed the Chinese government’s certification. It was initially set to release in 2021 but it was canceled at that time. Meanwhile, Xiaomi has not yet hinted at the specific release date.

Huawei Technologies is reportedly preparing to launch the world’s first triple-foldable smartphone within the second quarter. The company has been reportedly working on a triple-foldable technology since 2021, which includes three display panels alongside two sets of hinge technologies.

Asked about the rumor, however, a Huawei official said, "There's nothing to comment on.”

In an unexpected twist in the industry, Huawei beat Samsung to become the world’s bestselling foldable smartphone vendor in the first quarter, marking the first time that the US-sanctioned Chinese giant has topped that segment, according to data released by Counterpoint Research.

Huawei saw its foldable smartphone shipments in the first three months of the year jump 257 percent on-year to capture a 35 percent share, surpassing Samsung, whose share declined to 23 percent from 58 percent a year ago, the data showed.

A key driver of Huawei’s spike in foldable smartphone shipments was its new fifth-generation network models, according to Counterpoint. About 84 percent of Huawei’s foldable shipments were 5G-enabled, compared to a year ago, when the company’s foldable line consisted solely of 4G LTE devices, the consultancy said.

Samsung had dominated the sector until the end of 2023 since the launch of its first foldable phone in 2019. It seeks to regain the No. 1 spot with the new foldable devices at the upcoming unpacking event next month.

Samsung is planning to hold the Galaxy Unpacked 2024 event in Paris, France to unveil its new foldable smartphone series -- the Galaxy Z Flip6 and Z Fold6. The likely date for the unpacking event is July 10 and the new foldable phones are expected to address the shortcomings identified in their predecessors, sources assumed.