Samsung Electronics gave a glimpse of new foldable phones in a surprise TV commercial aired during the Academy Awards on Sunday.
The ad, broadcast only in the United States, comes two days before its Galaxy Z Flip phones are due to be unveiled at an event in San Francisco.
The smartphpne appeared in purple and black versions. Unlike the original Galaxy Fold, which opens and closes like a book, the Z Flip unfolds vertically like a vintage clamshell flip cellular phone from the late 90s. It has a square folded shape, a tiny notification panel on the exterior, and a large widescreen display on the inside.
Specs aren’t official yet, but reliable leaks suggest it will run on a Snapdragon 855+ with 8GB of RAM. But what’s perhaps most exciting about the Z Flip is the folding display is made of glass instead of the plastic that has been used in every foldable phone so far. The screen is rumored to measure 6.7-inches with an elongated 22:9 aspect ratio.
It is expected to be less expensive than the $1,980 Galaxy Fold which opens like a book and was launched in September.
Strategy Analytics expects global foldable smartphone shipments to grow from under 1 million units in 2019 to 100 million by 2025. Samsung, Huawei and others lead the way. Although high pricing, low display-yields and questionable durability are holding back the foldables market today, those problems could be solved in the long-term.
Samsung was the world’s number one foldable smartphone vendor in 2019, followed by Huawei in second place. Samsung is top in Western regions, like the US, while Huawei is focusing on its home market of China. Rival brands, such as Motorola and TCL, will deliver their own new models in 2020 and look to grab a slice of the foldables pie. By 2025, every major player should have a foldables portfolio, including Apple.