New foldable phones are just a few hours away. Samsung will hold its third Unpacked of 2021 at 7 a.m. PT on Wednesday. Like all events since COVID-19 spread globally, Samsung’s latest launch is all virtual. You can watch through the tech giant’s YouTube page, with the link going live an hour before the event.
Samsung’s next Unpacked event will be Aug. 11.
CNET also will be hosting a live show, starting at 6:30 a.m. PT and featuring Bridget Carey, Iyaz Akhtar and Jide Akinrinade. Also covering Samsung’s news will be Shara Tibken, Patrick Holland, Lexy Savvides, Scott Stein and David Carnoy. You can tune in here.
Foldables will be the big topic of the day at Unpacked. Samsung plans to introduce new models of the Galaxy Z Fold, which expands outward from a phone into a tablet, and the Galaxy Z Flip, which features a clamshell design, allowing users to shelter the interior flexible display by closing the sides. The new devices will feature more-durable materials and new multitasking abilities, and they’re also expected to cost less than their predecessors at launch.
The introduction of slightly more affordable foldables continues a trend seen from Samsung throughout 2021. In January, the company unveiled its flagship Galaxy S21 smartphone lineup, which it sold for $200 less than the previous year’s Galaxy S20 devices. Then in March, it highlighted its inexpensive Galaxy A line of smartphones.
Samsung’s effort to make devices more affordable is twofold. First, component prices have come down because Samsung has worked to hone its manufacturing process for its devices. And importantly, lower device pricing is an acknowledgment of the current environment. Even before the pandemic, consumers in markets like the US were holding onto phones for three years instead of the previous norm of two years. In the height of the COVID-19 spread last year, many buyers opted to upgrade their work-from-home equipment, like laptops and webcams, as opposed to seeking out new phones. And for many, $2,000 has been too much to pay for a device that’s more delicate than mainstream smartphones.
At Unpacked on Thursday, Samsung is expected to launch the Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 with lower starting prices. The Z Fold 2, unveiled a year ago, is the company’s most expensive phone. Its $2,000 price tag has made it inaccessible for most consumers and has prevented foldables from becoming mainstream devices. Even the Z Flip’s original $1,380 price was too high for many buyers, and that was before getting a price bump with 5G. Samsung in February slashed the starting price for its Galaxy Z Flip 5G foldable by $250, to $1,200, and in April, it cut the price for the Z Fold 2 to $1,800.
Rumors say the new Z Flip 3 could be priced at $1,000, putting it in line with the Galaxy S21 Plus and the iPhone 12 Pro. The Z Fold 3 also likely will see a price decline, but there haven’t been detailed rumors about the cost in US dollars.
Along with introducing more-durable and less expensive foldables, Samsung also is expected to unveil Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 4 Classic smartwatches and Galaxy Buds 2 wireless earbuds at Unpacked.
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