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?