The South Korean technology company aims to make foldable technology more popular and attract more customers.
The new Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3 models come with stronger cases, brighter displays, bigger batteries, artificial intelligence-powered cameras and more user-friendly features, Samsung said.
In the US market, the Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 will start from $1,799.90 and $999.90, respectively. However, the prices may slightly vary in the Middle East region.
“These [foldable] devices have to be as durable as traditional flagship models [the Note and S series] to ensure consumers are not sacrificing anything as they move to foldable technology,” it said.
“For the new foldable series, we had a big mission – durability … so that our customers can use them with peace of mind for everyday extended use. We started from scratch to make the impossible possible,” said Won-Joon Choi, executive vice president and head of product research and development at Samsung.
Both phones come with a new protective film on the main screens that makes them scratch-resistant and about 80 per cent more resilient to regular wear and tear than the previous foldable devices, the company said.
The metal frame and hinges of both phones are built with a new aluminium armour material, which makes them 10 per cent stronger than their predecessors.
“We are able to deliver the world's first water-resistant foldable smartphones by implementing the innovative sealing design … with all of these innovations, foldable smartphones are set to become the new standard in mobile devices as the category turns mainstream,” Mr Choi said.
Durability is a key element being touted by Samsung after it had to delay the global release of its first foldable phone in 2019 by several months after user reports of display problems and cracked screens.
It spent about eight years developing the first foldable smartphone, the Galaxy Fold, which was released globally in September 2019. The device was followed by the Galaxy Z Flip in February last year and the Galaxy Z Fold 2 in September.
The new Z Fold 3 comes with a 19.3-centimetre screen that folds into a compact device with a cover display of 15.7cm. It has three 12-megapixel cameras on the rear and one 10-megapixel front camera. Its price is about $200 cheaper than the launch price of Z Fold 2.
Weighing 271 grams, it is powered by a 4,400 milliampere-hour battery that promises enough power to last more than a day. It offers larger storage capacity – 12GB RAM and between 256GB and 512GB of internal space.
The new Z Fold 3 phone will also support the S Pen stylus, a signature feature of the company’s premium Note series. However, users need to buy it separately, the company said.
The Z Flip 3 is a compact, palm-sized device when folded but its screen size more than triples to 17cm when opened. Powered by a 3,300mAh battery, it weighs only 183 grams. It comes with 8GB RAM and internal storage options of 128GB and 256GB.
It has two cameras of 12-megapixels each on the back and a front 10-megapixel camera.
Foldable smartphone shipments are projected to increase about three times on an annual basis to about 9 million units this year, with Samsung holding 88 per cent of the market share of the high-end devices, according to Hong Kong-based Counterpoint Research.
“With new phones, we are bringing foldable innovations to more consumers … by breaking down the barriers of entry, with prices starting from $999,” said Bryan Choi, executive vice president and head of strategic marketing of mobile communications division at Samsung.
“Samsung will be the leading and foremost provider [of foldable smartphones], driving volume beyond the market demand … I am confident that with our new series, we can drive record high demand for foldables, inviting more consumers to enjoy the new way of using a smartphone,” he said.
Besides phones, Samsung also unveiled two new smartwatches – the Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic – and Galaxy Buds 2 to compete with the Apple’s AirPods and AirPods Pro.
Its new smartwatches are one of the first to have the ability to carry out a body composition analysis, providing insights to skeletal muscle, fat mass, body water and more, with only a touch.
They monitor biometrics and provide a detailed analyses of heart rate, stress, sleep patterns and blood-oxygen levels.
To challenge the dominance of Apple Watch, which has been the best-selling smartwatch for many years, Samsung has merged its Tizen OS with Wear OS. The new operating system grants users access to various Google services.