Samsung sold nearly 10 million foldable smartphones in 2021, up 300% YoY

Shawn Knight

Posts: 14,340   +165
Staff member
Editor's take: The tipping point for mainstream foldable adoption is at least another few years away. If Samsung and others can keep iterating on the concept of a single device for both work and play while continuing to iron out kinks in quality, foldables could eventually go mainstream. Pricing will likely have to dip substantially for that to happen, however.

Samsung introduced its first foldable smartphone in 2019 after years of researching how to create something new that deviated from the flat, rectangular design we have become accustomed to.

Foldables didn't make much of a splash out of the gate. Early examples were ripe with durability concerns, especially in the flexible display category. Worse yet, they hadn't really established a reason to exist. By that, I mean they didn't really solve a problem or meet a need. Just because you now have the technology to do something – like build a smartphone with a bendable screen – doesn't mean you should if there is no reason to justify its existence.

To its credit, Samsung persisted as it should have. Rarely is a first-gen product in a brand new category going to set the world on fire, so Samsung continued to iterate and learn from its mistakes. Durability improved and eventually, customers started taking notice and opening their wallets.

In 2021, Samsung shipped nearly 10 million foldable smartphones worldwide. That's an increase of more than 300 percent year over year, and Samsung mobile boss TM Roh believes this fast-paced growth will continue.

Roh also confirmed the date for Samsung's next Unpacked event. That'll take place on August 10 as previously rumored and will showcase the company's latest Galaxy foldables. Leaks have also suggested we could see a couple of new Galaxy smartwatches break cover, but Roh only mentioned foldables in his latest public address.

What are your thoughts on foldables at this stage? Have you tried one of the handful of devices already on the market? Did it meet your expectations in terms of quality and practicality? What about pricing?

Permalink to story.

 

nismo91

Posts: 1,233   +281
I think foldables are here to stay. like it or not, most people change their phones regularly, and samsung has found a way to make them last for at least 2 years, a sweet spot for a number of people (especially those who buys phone from telco). I'd wager most people are only worried about the hinge breaking on them during their first 2 years of use.

personally I wanted to see more competitions (motorola isn't remotely available where I live) perhaps a return of sliding, swivel phone like wing or perhaps some crazy mashup form factor android phones (maybe a gaming phone with physical D-pad). look at android phones made in the past 3 years and it's pretty sad. manufacturers just rearrange the selfie and rear cameras position and call it a new design.

I miss the days where we have lots of form factor: sliding android phone, a phone that converts into tablet, qwerty android phone, etc. or maybe a phone version of steamdeck, if it turns out to be really successful.
 

netman

Posts: 819   +368
"Samsung sold nearly 10 million foldable smartphones in 2021, up 300% YoY"____ And who on this site said Foldables do not have a future...?!
 

Soulburn74

Posts: 122   +66
From a 6 month owner of a fold 3's perspective on how things are:
From an app perspective there were 3 issues that I've faced in the time I"ve owned it: 2 have been resolved so far, 1 not:
1. When using Facebook in full screen view, when viewing facebook stories and certain videos, the video is overscanned (meaning top and bottom are cut off on portrait long videos). (this has been resolved, the aspect ratio of stories and videos display properly when viewing fb in full screen aspect ratio).
2. Same for IG stories,vids, also resolved.
3. Wells Fargo Banking app: a wierd one: When in 16x9 aspect ratio, or on the front screen biometric abilities present themselves to login with finger print/face. When in full screen aspect ratio it does not..... so I have to use the app in 16x9 view for finger print to work. hopefully WF fixes soon. These are the only isses that I recall being annoyances of owning a foldable so far, everything else works fine.

Being someone with fading eyesight with age, the bigger screen helps great! Videos and games in full screen are even better! Seems Samsung is having great sales to get the 3's out the door now that the fold 4's launch is imminent.
 

Xclusiveitalian

Posts: 870   +290
I saw one in person for the first time a few months ago and thought it was cool except for the HUGE and ugly crease right down the center. The tech just isnt there yet.
 

Kotters

Posts: 393   +296
I saw one in person for the first time a few months ago and thought it was cool except for the HUGE and ugly crease right down the center. The tech just isnt there yet.

You really don't notice the crease at all during use.

That said, Samsung should use a wider bend like everyone else with folding displays.