Samsung's pre-orders for the newly launched Galaxy Z Fold 3 smartphone were four times higher in the Gulf region compared to its predecessor released in September last year, a senior company official has said.
The world’s biggest smartphone manufacturer unveiled two 5G-enabled foldable smartphones under its Galaxy series – the Z Fold 3 and the Z Flip 3 – on August 11.
The devices will be available across the GCC from Friday, the company announced on Wednesday.
“Response from the GCC consumers is amazing … there has been a four-fold increase in pre-orders for the Z Fold 3 versus Z Fold 2. Particularly in the UAE market, we have experienced eight times surge in the pre-orders,” Osman Albora, senior director of Samsung Gulf Electronics' mobile division, told The National, without disclosing the exact numbers of pre-orders.
“This acknowledgement from the local consumers has boosted our confidence manifold. This also resonates with the global sentiments as our foldable devices are seeing an overwhelming response across geographies.”
The new foldable models come with stronger cases, brighter displays, bigger batteries, artificial intelligence-powered cameras and more user-friendly features, Samsung said.
In the UAE, prices for the Z Fold 3 start from Dh6,799, nearly Dh600 lower than the starting price of Z Fold 2. The Z Flip 3 will start from Dh3,799, a massive drop of nearly Dh1,800 from the starting price of Z Flip that was introduced in February last year.
“We are offering an unmatched technology in very economical price range. Our idea is to democratise the technology and let maximum number of users avail it,” said Mr Albora.
“Our new phones are very strategically priced to increase our market share further. We are confident about attracting many consumers as they [new foldable phones] offer [the] perfect value for money.”
Foldable smartphone shipments are projected to increase about three times on an annual basis to about nine million units this year, with Samsung accounting for 88 per cent market share of the high-end devices, according to Hong Kong-based Counterpoint Research.
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. The Z Flip 3 is a compact, palm-sized device when folded but its screen size more than triples to 17cm when opened.
Samsung’s new foldable 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.
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 users reported display problems and cracked screens.
The South Korean smartphone manufacturer has maintained its top position with 17.6 per cent market share in the second quarter, according to US research company Gartner said. It sold 57.7 million smartphones in the three-month period, an annual increase of 5.4 per cent.
Samsung was followed by Chinese brand Xiaomi (15.5 per cent market share) and Cupertino’s iPhone-maker Apple (15 per cent).
“We have seen a strong recovery in the first half of this year after the Covid-induced market disruptions last year. We have increased our market share and we will continue to do it in the second half [of the year] and through to 2022,” Mr Albora said.
“Mega events like Expo 2020 will fuel the demand for our premium handsets,” he added.