Cheaper model reportedly in the works

Mike Powers
Cheaper model reportedly in the works

Right after MWC 2024 ended, a Galaxy Z Fold 6 rumor emerged that Samsung might be developing an Ultra version of the handset. The report seemed to confirm that Samsung would sell a cheaper Galaxy Z Fold 6 this year. But it also implied that, rather than cutting the entry price of the current Fold 5 model, it would just launch a more expensive Galaxy Z Fold 6 Ultra alongside the base Fold 6.

I said at the time that I didn’t like the prospect of the “cheap” Galaxy Z Fold 6 starting at around $1,799. The Ultra would be priced even higher in such a scenario.

A new development suggests that the interpretation might not be correct. Samsung might indeed cut the price of the cheaper Galaxy Z Fold 6 as the pressure from competitors intensifies.

According to ETNews, Samsung has two problems to deal with. On one hand, there’s Huawei’s resurgence in China. The Chinese vendor is about to capture a big chunk of new foldable phone sales in the first half of the year. That’s largely thanks to Huawei’s home market.

On the other hand, there’s Apple, which has been closing the gap with Samsung when it comes to overall sales.

The report cites a recent survey from DSCC. Huawei will overtake Samsung in the first two quarters of the year in the foldable segment. That’s thanks to devices like the Mate X5 and Pocket 2 that compete directly against Samsung’s Fold and Flip models.

It also mentions a recent TrendForce report that provided smartphone production figures for last year. Overall, Samsung made 229 million handsets, foldables included. Apple came in second with 223 million iPhones.

I’ll remind you that sales estimates said that Apple actually outsold Samsung last year, becoming the world’s largest smartphone vendor. That number-one spot is usually reserved for Samsung.

Samsung launched the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Flip 5 foldable smartphones in July 2023. Image source: Samsung

With all that in mind, Samsung is counting on the Galaxy “Z6” series and the Galaxy AI features to deal with the crisis. A cheaper Galaxy Z Fold 6 is part of that strategy. ETNews says that Samsung will manufacture the first entry-level Fold model in the product’s history. One way to achieve that is to remove the S Pen support from the cheaper model.

That might not sound like a big deal. The S Pen is optional on the Galaxy Z Fold 5. But removing the digitizer from the cheaper Fold 6 means the device can’t possibly start at the same $1,799 price as the Fold 5. That was my worry after the Galaxy Z Fold 6 Ultra rumor emerged.

The Korean outlet doesn’t mention other compromises or a price point for the cheaper Galaxy Z6 Fold. However, Samsung could very well make other hardware changes to reduce the price. It can choose a cheaper processor, restrict storage to 128GB and 256GB, and minimize the camera upgrades.

I am only speculating. But the point is that Samsung will probably look at additional cost-saving options to bring the Galaxy Z Fold 6 price down. And I’ll say that I’m curious to see what Samsung does to launch the cheapest Fold 6 model it can make.

The same DSCC report predicted that Samsung will retake the lead from Huawei in the second half of the year. Once the Fold 6 and Flip 6 are available. On that note, I’ll also say the Galaxy Z Flip 6 is rumored to feature more upgrades than expected.

With all that in mind, rumors that Samsung will unveil the new foldables in early July this year make a lot of sense. Even without the Summer Olympics, which Samsung might use to promote the new foldables, the threat from Huawei should be enough to convince Samsung to push forward the second Unpacked event of the year.

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