what is happening
Samsung has announced the Galaxy Z Fold 4, its new large-format foldable phone.
Why is that important?
Samsung sees foldable phones as key to the future of its mobile device lineup. As one of the largest smartphone manufacturers in the world, Samsung has influence over a wide market.
Samsung will launch the Galaxy Z Fold 4 on August 26 for $1,800.
Increasing it further Ambitions with the Galaxy Z Fold 4, which goes on sale on August 26 and starts at $1,800 (£1,649, AU$2,499).
A new book-style foldable phone was announced on WednesdayIt has a modified design to make it easier to operate in phone mode. It’s also getting new software that takes advantage of its foldable screen, and regular upgrades to the processor and camera.
Samsung had early access to the market, launching itAccording to estimates by Display Supply Chain Consultants and Omdia, the device in 2019. It leads the foldable phone market by a wide margin in terms of portability. But foldable phones still account for a sliver of the broader mobile phone market. The new Z Fold 4 and Z Flip 4 are Samsung’s latest attempt to change that by addressing some of the biggest criticisms of previous models, making foldables more appealing to a larger audience.
The Galaxy Z Fold 4, for example, has a wider cover screen that more closely resembles a regular, non-folding phone when closed. The change makes apps look more natural because the Z Fold 4’s screen isn’t as narrow. The difference is certainly noticeable compared to the Galaxy Z Fold 3, but the display is still not as wide as a standard phone like the Galaxy S22 or the iPhone 13.
Samsung is also making the Galaxy Z Fold 4 useful when its display is folded in half. Flex Mode is getting a new feature that splits the app between the top and bottom of the screen when the Z Fold is opened. You’ll be able to use the bottom half of the screen as a trackpad to control content on the top half, similar to a touchpad on a laptop.
This makes it easier to navigate apps in flex mode, as you don’t have to obscure the top of the screen with your finger while scrolling. The newly announced Galaxy Z Flip 4 is also getting this feature, and Samsung says it’s evaluating bringing it to older Galaxy Z Fold and Flip devices. Samsung also claims the Z Fold 4 is the first device to ship with Android 12L, a version of Android optimized for tablets. One of the most notable Android 12 additions is the Z Fold 4’s new taskbar, which makes switching between apps more convenient.
The overall design of the Z Fold 4 remains mostly the same, but Samsung claims that the Z Fold 4 has a more robust build. The exterior is protected by Gorilla Glass Victus Plus, while the internal tablet-sized display is 45% more durable. Samsung says the Z Fold 4’s interior screen is brighter than its predecessor, and the interior’s under-display camera is less noticeable. Like the previous version, the Z Fold 4 is also compatible with the S Pen.
Otherwise, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 is getting the camera and processor upgrades you’d expect from an annual phone update. The camera is particularly noteworthy; Samsung is upgrading the Z Fold 4’s triple lens camera system to a 50-megapixel main sensor, a 12-megapixel ultrawide sensor and a 10-megapixel telephoto lens. That telephoto lens supports optical zoom up to 3x and digital zoom up to 30x. Samsung is also bringingZ Fold to 4 and Flip to 4.
Most people interested in the Galaxy Z Fold probably care more about the phone’s giant inner screen than the camera. But at such a high price, the Z Fold 4 should have a camera that at least matches or exceeds what’s found on Samsung’s non-folding phones. The Galaxy Z Fold 4’s cameras are definitely a step in the right direction, representing a significant upgrade from the Z Fold 3’s 12-megapixel wide, telephoto and ultrawide lenses. ButStill Samsung’s top-of-the-line camera phone.
The Z Fold 4 also runs on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 processor, a new and slightly updated version of the chip found in the Galaxy S22 lineup. Battery capacity remains the same at 4,400 mAh, which is a shame — CNET’s Patrick Holland was disappointed with the Galaxy Z Fold 3’s battery life.
Overall, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 is a more refined and polished version of the Galaxy Z Fold 3. Samsung is getting a better understanding of who these devices are for, now that they’ve been around for almost three years. With its larger screen and S Pen compatibility, Samsung is positioning the Z Fold 4 as a productivity device similar to the extinct Galaxy Note. Establishing that direction means Samsung can focus on adding unique and specific new features to the Z Fold, rather than ensuring apps work smoothly on the Fold’s different screen sizes.
At $1,800, the Z Fold 4 is still a tough sell. And while these new features are a sign of progress, they aren’t enough to entice non-foldable phone users. But it’s a step closer to figuring out what role foldables can play in our lives.
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