The first-ever Samsung smartphone capable of being bent in half is hitting the store shelves in a matter of weeks, with various divisions of the company now slowly confirming some of its concrete availability details, including its eye-watering price.
Cue today's communication from Samsung UK that happily confirmed an unlocked Galaxy Fold model will be retailing at £1,800 in the country, the equivalent of $2,370. Those who avoid the firm's online shop and Experience Stores will still be able to pick up the device with a number of wireless carriers this spring, including EE which is scheduled to launch pre-orders tomorrow, March 26. BT will also be carrying the compact phablet but no further details have yet been released by the network operator. Samsung's own shops will naturally be taking advanced orders as well, also starting from tomorrow.
Over the pond, the American arm of the electronics juggernaut already confirmed the Galaxy Fold will be released on April 26.
Worth pointing out is that these are not pre-registrations being talked about any longer; not only is every piece of consumer electronics expected to be released within a month of its early orders becoming available but so has Samsung apparently signaled it finally managed to complete several flow-production runs of the Galaxy F.
Consistent yield rates remain one of the top issues of foldable handsets, an entirely new product category which manufacturers are approaching from numerous directions, though most of them have flexible OLED panels in common. Flexible OLED panels most commonly produced by no one other than – Samsung. Last year's report on the company's seminal project suggested around 300,000 units of the first-generation handset series will be produced as the company appears to be interested in delivering an advertisement for its mobile business as much as it is expecting the device to actually sell.
The steep price tag pushes the Galaxy Fold far beyond any semblance of a sensible price range and while that's not unusual nor problematic when it comes to first-generation tech per se, it could surely work against the South Korean firm unless its premier bendable handset solution is free of any large manufacturing defects or other design omissions. The tech allowing for such unconventional creations to come to life is still considered to be in its infancy but what's unclear is whether the foldable form factor is truly the design direction consumers will accept, especially if years go by without significant price drops.
Some manufacturers such as Xiaomi and even Huawei itself already suggested the existence of plans for affordable bendable phones being in the works, yet the corners that they would have to cut to deliver something of the sort would likely do more harm than good to that gadget concept, i.e. will do more harm than good seeing how recent reports indicate those efforts have already been greenlit for commercialization.
Ultimately, while it may be years until foldable phones become both good and affordable (read: launch with triple-digit prices), there is zero doubt that virtually anyone worth anything in the mobile segment will be trying their luck with them in the near future; just ask Samsung, Huawei, LG, Motorola, Lenovo, OnePlus, Xiaomi, OPPO, Sharp, and Vivo, none of them are hiding their interest in this bizarre tech any longer, even if only as an opportunity to join their rivals in a fun race of "let's make the world's most expensive prototype handset."