Samsung is ‘listening and learning' to make foldables more appealing

A senior UK and Ireland executive said the company is well placed to lead a ‘foldable future' in the smartphone market.

Samsung will make foldable smartphones mainstream by continuing to “listen and learn” from users in order to broaden their appeal, a senior UK executive has said.

The phone maker unveiled its fourth-generation foldable devices – the Galaxy Z Flip4 and Fold4 – on Wednesday.

Conor Pierce, Samsung’s corporate vice president for the UK and Ireland, said that, while the new devices remain in the ultra-premium smartphone category, much broader use among the wider public will follow in the coming years.

“It will be mainstream, we will have a ‘foldable future’, if you like, across many different price points and form factors,” Mr Pierce told the PA news agency, adding that the new Fold4 and Flip4 will further help create that future.

“It’s about listening, learning and innovating, and I think we’ve never listened more than in the last 12 months,” he said.

“So I’m really excited that we’re actually ticking the boxes for what the consumers want in these devices.

“What do they want? They want a powerful battery, so the Flip4 battery life is now three hours longer than it was before. They want performance, so we have a new processor in the device, it’s the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1.

“And obviously everyone uses their phone for the cameras, so we’ve upgraded the cameras – including a 50-megapixel lens on the Fold.

“I think it’s just the best experience based on the feedback we’ve had from consumers – that’s what Samsung does well: we listen, we learn, we innovate.”

Mr Pierce noted that the phone maker is already seeing people switching to its foldable devices from rival manufacturers.

“One in four who buy the Flip are coming from a non-Samsung brand, and around 13% are coming from iPhone. That’s exciting because we haven’t had that in our portfolio before – organic switching,” he said.

The price of both foldables has risen compared with last year’s models, but the Samsung executive also acknowledged the ongoing cost-of-living pressures facing many, and highlighted the firm’s expanded range of trade-in options for anyone thinking about upgrading in the current climate.

“We’re acutely aware (of the cost of living). I think everyone who lives in the UK is aware because it’s a daily pressure that we face in our normal lives,” he said.

“So when someone purchases a Fold device, they can obtain up to £580 in residual value for the device they have in their pocket – any device, any condition, but up £580.”

Those who pre-order one of the new phones will also be eligible for a year of free damage cover with Samsung’s Care+ programme, as well as a year’s free access to the Disney+ streaming service.

Mr Pierce also encouraged Samsung’s rivals to enter the foldable market, as it will help choice, competition and innovation in the category.

“We’re only warming up. Foldable is only at the tip of the iceberg – there’s so much more to come,” he told PA.

“This puts Samsung in a very competitive position because we have a lot of base learnings, we have, I think, up to 1,000 patents released on foldable technology, which obviously has helped us build these devices.

“But, having said that, I’ve always welcomed competition. However late they want to come to the party, they can come, because it does actually do a few things – it raises the tide for the overall category, it raises awareness of the overall category, it offers choice for the consumer, and it puts leaders like us in a position where we need to keep innovating.

“So I think we’re proud of where we are, but we humbly need to learn more.

“It gives us a really good opportunity to continue trailblazing and leading.”