What you need to know
- Samsung is considering a cheaper Galaxy Z Fold 6 model this year, according to a report from The Elec.
- It would be the first time Samsung has considered an entry-level large foldable.
- The move could come as Samsung faces greater competition from companies like Google and OnePlus.
The days of Samsung's only big-screen foldables costing nearly $2,000 might be coming to an end. The electronics company is exploring a cheaper Galaxy Z Fold 6 model that could be released this year, according to a report from The Elec. Samsung could be trying to replicate the success of its Galaxy Z Flip 5, which has been a hit at the $999 price point.
"Samsung Electronics is considering developing an entry-level model for the new Galaxy Z Fold 6, a foldable phone that will be released in the second half of the year," the report states. "This is the first time Samsung Electronics has reviewed the development of an entry-level model for foldable phones."
Regardless of whether Samsung actually brings an entry-level foldable to market, the regular Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Galaxy Z Flip 6 will still be released. Presumably, both will still carry their $1,799 and $999 price tags, respectively. Samsung's goal for making a cheaper foldable is to make folding phones more mainstream overall, eventually differentiating the company from its competitors.
The move might also be related to Samsung's market share in China, where folding phones are more available than in North America and Europe. Samsung has managed to capture less than a percent of the slab-style phone market in China. By comparison, it has a double-digit market share in the folding phone market. These numbers are courtesy of The Elec, which suggests that an entry-level foldable could be a small part of a greater plan for Chinese expansion.
In other markets, a cheaper big-screen folding phone could make Samsung competitive with new entrants to the foldable market. Last year, both OnePlus and Google released foldables with equal or lower prices than Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 5.
Those smartphones, the OnePlus Open and the Google Pixel Fold have been generally well-received. The two foldables have larger cover screens, whereas the Galaxy Z Fold 5 has a small and narrow one. Similarly, some prospective buyers and reviewers have become discontent with Samsung's iterative upgrades to the Z Fold lineup over the past few years.
One thing to keep in mind is whether Samsung could actually ship a new foldable in 2024, which it is only now considering. The company typically releases its folding phones in August, meaning that Samsung has under eight months to bring the product to market. There are a multitude of reasons Samsung could break the odds and debut an entry-level foldable this year, but the proposed timeline is one reason to remain skeptical.
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Brady is a tech journalist covering news at Android Central. He has spent the last two years reporting and commenting on all things related to consumer technology for various publications. Brady graduated from St. John's University in 2023 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. When he isn't experimenting with the latest tech, you can find Brady running or watching sports.