SAMSUNG'S new products: 4 upcoming folding smartphones in 2021
Samsung's folding smartphone. Photo:

Samsung's latest rumour about the upcoming products

Samsung could have as many as four foldable devices in the pipeline for 2021 according to a report from Korea’s ETNews. If true, the report underscores rumours that Samsung is planning to phase out its iconic Galaxy Note series in favour of its folding smartphone line up. Indications are that Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra will offer S-Pen support and that at least one of the foldable will also pick up S-Pen support in the coming year too.

ETNews believes that there will be two Galaxy Z Fold3 models and two new Galaxy Z Flip models as well. With all expected to support 5G cellular connections, it appears that Samsung could be adopting a split strategy for its range with a high-end Fold3 and Flip joined by a more affordable, or ‘Lite’ alternative for each. The high-end Galaxy Z Fold3 is also expected to bring S-Pen support and will launch in a similar window to when the Galaxy Note would have otherwise launched. This will give traditional Note customers a truly powerful mobile computing alternative.

Galaxy Z Fold 3

SAMSUNG'S new products: 4 upcoming folding smartphones in 2021

We’ve heard several rumours about the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 that point to some potentially different features and capabilities. The first among these revealed by techradar is the S Pen – the same stylus in the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 family and the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus – that a patent suggests is coming in a future Samsung foldable phone, which could refer to the Z Fold 3.

Another report supports the reasoning that an S Pen may come to the Z Fold 3, while also suggesting some display changes that may need to be made to get stylus functionality. First, Samsung may switch screen technologies from electromagnetic resonance (EMR) to active electrostatic solution (AES) to better register stylus input; and second, that the ultra-thin glass (UTG) maybe twice as thick as on the Z Fold 2, from 30 micrometres to 60 micrometres.

There’s also a rumour that the Z Fold series will combine with the Note series to make a single productivity-focused phone line, ultimately condensing Samsung’s annual flagships to just the S20 series and the stylus-packing foldable Z Fold line. A Samsung official has reportedly said similar, saying that the Z Fold 3 will get a stylus while the Note range will be discontinued.

Another feature the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 might get is an in-screen camera, with multiple sources suggesting as much, as well as saying that it's likely to be the first Samsung phone to have one. A Samsung official has reportedly even said as much now - though the feature may apparently not make it if it degrades the screen or photo quality.

Elsewhere, we've heard that there might be two Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 models. The source doesn't say what's different about them but claims that they'll both support 5G. We have however heard of a Samsung Galaxy Z Fold Lite, so they might be talking about that.

Galaxy Z Flip 2

SAMSUNG'S new products: 4 upcoming folding smartphones in 2021
Photo: TGDD.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 2: Release date

Galaxy Z Flip released in February 2020; Z Flip 5G in August 2020

If Samsung maintains its regular release schedule for phones over the next year, then a Galaxy Z Flip 2 would most likely arrive a year after the original, which would be around February 2021 - alongside the Galaxy S21

One version of the foldable phone has the triple cameras positioned horizontally, similar to the existing Galaxy Z Flip, while the other version has its camera sensors arranged vertically, like Samsung's other smartphones.

The patent showing the phone with vertical cameras seems to have more space for the external display to expand, perhaps allowing the next-generation Z Flip foldable phone to show users more useful information at a glance when closed. For now though, rumours are scarce.

For many, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip will meet requirements in terms of battery, camera and power, providing something unique that looks great; but for the gamers, enthusiasts and power users, the Galaxy Z Flip is probably a compromise they might not want to make.

The 4G LTE-only Galaxy Z Flip features a Snapdragon 855+ processor, a 6.7-inch primary display (with a resolution of 2636 x 1080 pixels), a 1.1-inch cover screen (with a resolution of 300 x 112 pixels), a 3300mAh battery capacity, dual 12MP rear-facing cameras, a single 10MP front camera, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of internal storage space with no microSD expansion.

The 5G version moves to Snapdragon 865 Plus but retains the other specs. Any future model would likely move to next-gen hardware, likely Snapdragon 875, although might repurpose some of the hardware used in the Z Flip 5G.

Predictions about the difference between the previous versions and the next unrevealed ones

In terms of the differentiation between the high-end and Lite foldable models, lower specification processors and potentially displays are likely. This, however, could significantly increase the affordability of Samsung’s foldable range which have thus far been priced beyond the reach of most consumers. Samsung believes its foldable OLED technology is the future of smartphones and ETNews also reports that Samsung will launch a rollable smartphone to compete with LG’s forthcoming rollable. This model, however, may not reach the market until 2022.

A short review of Samsung's plan in 2022

In the next 2 years - 2022, ETNews reports that Samsung might even be planning to release a rollable smartphone either late 2021 or the following year, as predicted by gsgarena. LG’s already trademarked a name for its rollable smartphone, but we still have no solid timeframe for that yet. 2021 will be quite an interesting year for the mobile industry as we (hopefully) see the price of folding devices begin to fall.

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