Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 30 October 2020

Samsung to release second foldable phone ‘Galaxy Bloom’ next month

To reach more customers, the company will price Bloom $1,500 as it vies to secure new users

Samsung teased a new foldable concept that folds vertically into a small square at its developer conference in San Jose in October, last year. Courtesy Samsung
Samsung teased a new foldable concept that folds vertically into a small square at its developer conference in San Jose in October, last year. Courtesy Samsung

Samsung is set to roll out its second foldable smartphone next month as the world’s largest manufacturer of smartphones and chips seeks to secure new customers.

Named Galaxy Bloom, the new foldable device will be revealed at Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked event in San Francisco on February 11, the UK-based technology publication T3 reported.

Set to be marketed "aggressively at women in their twenties”, the Bloom clamshell is designed to “echo the folding makeup cases from French cosmetics firm Lancome”, using a shape already familiar to Samsung's target market, according to T3.

The company’s mobile division chief executive DJ Koh held secret meetings with partners at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, last week, to showcase the latest foldable device.

This did not come as a surprise as the South Korean firm is known for holding closed-door meetings with partners and sellers before launching new products in the market.

The new foldable phone looks more like a traditional flip phone. In a teaser video, released by Samsung, it was shown folding vertically, confirming reports that Samsung’s next bendable phone will fold to become a ‘compact’ square.

Samsung spent nearly eight years developing its first foldable phone – Galaxy Fold – but had to postpone its global release on April 26, last year, after reviewers reported display problems and cracking screens.

After months of "refining" the Fold, the company launched it in selected markets in September. Since then, the company has sold 400,000 to 500,000 Folds, Mr Koh said at CES.

To reach more customers, Samsung will price Bloom at $1,500 (Dh5,500), almost $500 less than the selling price of Fold.

Samsung is currently battling Apple and Huawei to retain market dominance.

After facing a nearly 8 per cent dip in sales year-on-year in the first quarter of 2019, the company rebounded in the second and third quarters with a 6.9 per cent year-on-year rise in sales in the six months to September 30, according to International Data Corporation.

However, lower sales of expensive devices and a decline in its chip business meant Samsung reported a 56 per cent plunge in the third-quarter operating profit to $6.6 billion.

That was the fourth consecutive quarter where Samsung’s operating profit fell year-on-year. The company’s quarterly revenue also fell to $52.8bn from $55.8bn last year.

To improve the company's bottom line, Samsung plans to “offer more foldable products in 2020… to enhance its competitiveness and build a foundation for further growth”, Osman Albora, head of IT and mobile division at Samsung Gulf, told The National.

“We expect growing sales in foldable and 5G devices this year,” added Albora, without disclosing any details about upcoming devices.

Following Samsung’s footsteps, Huawei also announced its first foldable phone – Mate X – at the Mobile World Congress in February, last year.

Originally scheduled to go for sale in July, Shenzhen-headquartered firm pushed its launch to November to improve the display strength after Samsung delayed the Fold’s launch following screen problems.

Currently available only in China, Huawei said it is selling at least 100,000 Mate X per month since November.

Microsoft’s foldable Duo and Motorola’s foldable Razr are due to release later this year.

Updated: January 12, 2020 11:55 AM

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