The Galaxy Fold is Samsung’s newest smartphone innovation. And it proves the term “smartphone innovation” the emptiest in tech.
— Faiz Ramly (@fareastramly) February 21, 2019
The Fold is nifty on sight, but it’s just the latest smartphone price gouge disguised as a groundbreaking innovation. No one was clamoring for a foldable smartphone. The unfolded 7.34-inch display is an awkward size that requires two hands, while the folded version makes it look like something’s missing. The design echoes flip phones of the past, but the end result feels like a forced attempt at creating some kind of tablet-smartphone crossover device.
Samsung has done well with creating sturdier, more waterproof phones with longer battery life. But those kinds of concrete improvements get boring after a while, and can’t be maximally priced. An innovation like the Fold, however, is deserving of an inflated price tag and Samsung is starting the new phone at $1,980. We’ve already accepted that smartphones should cost at least one month’s rent—why not make it two?
The Fold will sell despite its absurd price point. Samsung’s taking advantage of the same market segment that clamored over the Apple Watch. Crossover devices have their appeal, even if they appear dorky. And for Samsung, there’s no downside—if it winds up being the smartphone innovation of the decade, they’re geniuses. If not, novelty sales alone should net them a profit regardless.
There’s definitely some innovation to celebrate here. Creating a phone with a seamless hi-def foldable screen is no small feat. It’s just not one anybody is really asking for.