Like clockwork, Samsung president and head of the mobile division TM Roh penned a blog this week, just a few weeks ahead of the upcoming Unpacked press conference that will focus on this year’s Galaxy Z foldable phones, the Fold 4 and Flip 4. We saw the same thing happen last year, and we now expect Roh to keep writing similar blogs with every Fold and Flip release.
Roh just hinted that Samsung sold a massive number of foldable phones in 2021 by mentioning a figure of 10 million foldable phone sales for the period. Or so it seems. Because, when you think about it, 10 million units is a drop in the bucket for Samsung, whose smartphone sales routinely pass 250 million units a year.
Roh’s remarks indicate what some consumers might have already realized: Foldable phones might not be worth it yet. What Samsung really needs is a foldable iPhone to lead the way.
Foldable phones like the Galaxy Z Fold and Flip are fascinating on paper. They offer larger screens and smaller footprints. The Fold is especially exciting as it lets the user make the most of two types of devices — a smartphone and a tablet.
A brief history of Samsung’s foldable phones
Samsung has been at the forefront of foldable handsets for years. It teased the form factor well before the technology was ready. And then it released the first Galaxy Fold before actually testing it properly in real-life environments. The initial launch failed miserably, as Samsung had to find fixes for critical design flaws that led to the destruction of the phone.
The Fold 2 and Fold 3 significantly improved the phone’s durability, especially the latter. The Fold 3 is the best possible foldable phone that Samsung can make. And even so, the Fold 3 is hardly perfect. The Fold 4 should fix some of the usability and design issues the Fold 3 suffers from. The new foldable will have a larger external display and weigh less than its predecessor.
Galaxy Fold (2019) teardown highlights the phone’s design issues. Image source: iFixit But Samsung’s foldables aren’t true flagships like the Galaxy S and Note. The Fold series actually helped “kill” the Note without replacing it. The camera experience is still unable to match that of the Galaxy S Ultra, although the Fold 4 might change that. The Flip 4 is even further away.
Not to mention that Samsung can’t fully control the software. Samsung’s success in the foldable business hinges on Google’s willingness to adapt Android for foldable screens. And it’s up to Google to convince Android app developers to update their apps to make the most of Fold and Flip phones. But why go through all that hassle for just 10 million potential customers?
Add to that the flagship price for a somewhat fragile, not-flagship device, and you’ll get why people won’t want a foldable instead of a traditional phone, especially in this economy.
Are foldables really going mainstream?
This brings us to Roh’s new post about Samsung foldable phones titled The Mainstream Moment for Foldable Smartphones Is Here.
In this post, he said the industry registered almost 10 million foldable smartphone sales worldwide last year. That’s an increase of more than 300% from 2020. And Roh says he predicts “this fast-paced growth will continue.”
“We are reaching the moment where these foldable devices are becoming widespread and staking a bigger claim in the overall smartphone market,” he said.
A quick back-of-the-napkin calculation tells us that handset makers should sell 30 million foldable phones this year to keep that 300% pace in place. That is hardly reasonable for the economy we’re currently living in.
Not to mention that some estimates see Samsung selling only 15 million foldable phones in 2022. It’s unlikely that Chinese companies can make up for the rest. And a foldable iPhone isn’t coming anytime soon.
Google apps running on Galaxy Fold 3 foldable. Image source: Google How many Galaxy Z Fold 3 units did Samsung sell?
Then, Samsung might sell only 10 million Fold 5 and Flip 5 units in 2023. If these estimates are accurate, Samsung’s foldable sales will grow by 50% this year compared to the entire industry’s performance in 2021. And then they’ll stay flat next year in a best-case scenario.
To put things in perspective, Apple routinely sells around 200 million iPhones yearly. For massive profits and without crazy deals in place.
Also, annual smartphone shipments have reached at least 1.28 billion units per year since 2014.
Meanwhile, reports say that Apple can’t make a foldable iPhone because it can’t mass-produce enough foldable glass covers to satisfy its needs. That implies that foldable iPhone volumes would be so large no supplier could handle the parts order. Not even Samsung, whose foldable phone tech might very well end up inside a foldable iPhone.
Let’s also observe that Roh did not reveal which foldable smartphones sold the best. Last year, Samsung sold four foldable handsets: The Fold 2, Flip 2, Fold 3, and Flip 3. But he did say that 70% of Samsung’s buyers opted for the Flip experience rather than the Fold.
The Note would have probably outsold all Samsung foldables combined last year. But Samsung had no Note 21 in stores. Apple’s iPhone SE 2 outsold the Galaxy Folds and Flips combined. And while that’s a mid-range device, it still delivers better durability and performance than any Samsung flagship.
Oppo Find N foldable phone. Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR Where the foldable iPhone could help
These are all signs that Samsung’s foldable phones while doing well, are hardly getting to be mainstream devices. And while Samsung has been selling more foldables than anybody else, it barely has any competition. Some of the exciting foldable phones from China aren’t available widely.
Not to mention that Samsung ran massive campaigns to convince buyers to try and keep foldable phones. You could try the Fold 2 for 100 days and then return it. Or trade in everything but the kitchen sink to buy a Fold 3, with a retail price starting at $1,799. The Fold 4 isn’t out yet, but you can already save up to $200 on it by reserving the right to preorder it.
Concept image of a foldable iPhone with a clamshell design. Image source: ConceptsiPhone/YouTube Time will tell whether Samsung can accelerate the rate of foldable smartphone innovations without a real competitor to pressure it. And whether foldables will go mainstream with Samsung as the locomotive.
But that’s where a foldable iPhone would really help. Samsung would not rest on its laurels and write self-congratulatory blog posts every summer if a foldable iPhone were to launch just a few weeks after the newest Fold.
Also, the more time that passes without a foldable iPhone, the harder it will be for Samsung to replace the traditional smartphone with a foldable form factor. And at 10 million units sold annually, that’s hardly going mainstream. That’s because something else might kill traditional smartphones: The sophisticated AR glasses of the future. And that sort of tech is a priority for Apple.
That’s not to say all the tech Samsung has devised for foldable phones won’t come in handy. But the world might use it to create other types of foldable devices instead of phones.
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[Let’s Play With Samsung] ① Get Your Game On: No Console Required, With Samsung’s All-in-One Gaming Hub on Your Samsung Smart TVBy STF News
To kick off the series, Samsung Newsroom met with the developers and strategic planners of Samsung Gaming Hub,1 which combines the power of streaming and gaming all in one place. From the story of the platform’s development to insights on their favorite games now available on Samsung Smart TVs, the experts behind Samsung Gaming Hub share the inside story of Samsung’s new all-in-one cloud gaming experience.
Power Up Your Gameplay Visuals With the Neo QLED
Samsung continues to lead innovation in Smart TV technology, driven by the goal of providing more and increasingly better entertainment options for consumers. As a result, the company decided to explore new gaming features that could be enjoyed specifically on Samsung Smart TVs.
In 2018, Samsung broke new ground by becoming the first in the industry to implement Auto Game Mode on TVs. Since then, Samsung has led the way in developing Smart TVs focused on leveling up the gaming experience. As a result, for the past four years, Samsung has won the CES Innovation Awards in the gaming category. In addition, Neo QLED proved its technological prowess last year by becoming the first TV to receive certification for Gaming TV Performance from Verband Deutscher Elektrotechniker (VDE), a well-regarded electrical engineering certification institute in Germany.
The Gaming TV Performance recognition from the VDE is granted based on the qualities of ‘Low Input Lag’ and ‘HDR with a brightness of higher than 1,000 nits.’
Input lag refers to the time it takes for an input command on a gamepad to appear on the screen. The shorter the input lag, the faster the response speed, allowing players greater control over their gameplay experience. The input lag for Samsung’s Neo QLED was 10ms or below in all game segments, meeting or exceeding the evaluation standards across the board.
The TV was also recognized for its technological advancement in HDR as well. Neo QLED provides the optimal contrast by making brighter screens even brighter and darker screens even darker. This technology earned Neo QLED the VDE certification.
What’s more, since last year, the entire line-up of Neo QLED has been equipped with the AMD FreeSync Premium Pro feature — another industry first. The FreeSync Premium provides a soft yet vivid picture quality by reducing or removing input delay, lagging screens and screen distortion while connecting your game console or PC to the TV display. As such, users can enjoy fluid, tear-free racing games with Neo QLED.
The Best of Gaming, All in One Place
With the hardware in place, powerful software is the next step for leveling up any home gaming rig. Launched on June 30th, the Samsung Gaming Hub will be the ultimate home for gaming, using only your TV.
The Gaming Hub is the Smart Hub’s new section dedicated to the latest games. Acting as a go-to streaming platform, the Samsung Gaming Hub displays popular games, recently played games and recommendations just for you — all in one, convenient place. No console is required. Gamers can simply select any game on the screen and play instantly. They won’t even have to wait for the game to download. It’s all there, right away. The Samsung Gaming Hub also supports multitasking, letting users explore videos or listen to music while playing games.
▲ Heej Chung, GEM PM of Visual Display Business at Samsung Electronics
“The biggest advantage is that the users can enjoy streaming games through Samsung Smart TVs and monitors without having to buy any extra gear,” said Heej Chung. “In other words, it’s a comprehensive game service where users can enjoy gaming content and experiences all at once in Samsung Smart TVs.”
“The way we watch videos has evolved from playing VHS tapes and installing set-top boxes to subscribing to OTT services and streaming videos. Likewise, the way we play games has shifted to gaming on the cloud,” said Chung. “Just as Samsung TVs have evolved with how we watch videos, we want to offer a better gaming experience for users.”
The Future of Games, for All
The Samsung Gaming Hub is gaining attention from users worldwide for giving users instant and seamless access to a wide variety of games. By partnering with NVIDIA GeForce NOW, Google Stadia and Utomik, Samsung is offering a selection of games beloved by gamers available on demand.
However, the benefits don’t stop there — the time, money and hassle involved with buying compatible equipment for different consoles, and the lengthy process of installing and uninstalling games for the sake of storage space, are all resolved with the Samsung Gaming Hub.
▲ JunHo Hwang, Software R&D Lab of Visual Display Business at Samsung Electronics
“In the past, we had to buy a separate gear to play exclusive games,” said Junho Hwang. “What’s more, gamers who bought the DL (downloaded) version of games had to delete previously installed games often to secure enough storage to install new ones.”
“However, with the Samsung Gaming Hub, users can explore and play games offered by our various partner companies without buying a separate console,” said Hwang. “Since games are streamed, users don’t need to worry about storage space or installation time at all.”
▲ Jay Park, GEM PM of Visual Display Business at Samsung Electronics
This makes the gaming industry, as anyone can play and enjoy CPU-intensive games, even without a PC. “The Samsung Gaming Hub provides games on the cloud, so users don’t need to worry about minimum system requirements or recommended configurations,” said Jay Park. “With the low latency mode and AI upscaling, we’ve improved performance and resolution, which are the most important aspects of cloud gaming.”
Stream Xbox Straight to Your TV
The news that surprised gamers the most this year was the collaboration agreement between Samsung Electronics and Microsoft. Through the partnership, Samsung’s Gaming Hub became the world’s first Smart platform to include the Xbox app. This means that 2022 Samsung Smart TV user can enjoy Xbox-exclusive games without having to buy a console.
▲ Juyeon Park, GEM PM of Visual Display Business at Samsung Electronics
“I’ve been a gamer since I was a kid in elementary school, so this has been the most enjoyable and exciting project for me. I hope many gamers will feel free to play these games without worrying about buying gear,” said Juyeon Park.
Top Video Game Picks From Samsung Developers
As more and more at home gamers turn to playing games on large, high-resolution screens, we wanted to know — what are the best games to play on Samsung Smart TVs?
Hwang recommends “It Takes Two,” a game where the main characters, Cody and May, work as a couple and try to escape a fantasy world and return to Rose, their daughter. “The storyline has to do with family, and it’s also not so difficult to play either,” said Hwang. “It’s a fun game to play with family members who are new to video games.”
For solo players, Jay Park recommends “Forza Horizon 5,” a racing game chosen by more than 10 million gamers. “The game takes place in Mexico, so it’s great for enjoying the natural scenery abroad. You can also play with expensive cars without worrying about taking care of them, so it’s quite cathartic,” said Park. “I’ve played this game while testing the Gaming Hub, and the time just flew by. I was so drawn into the experience.”
Fun for the Whole Family
These days, we live in a world where our TV instantly connects us to thrilling action movies, or up-to-date news from all over the world, anytime. While quality gear is important, what matters more to consumers is quality content.
“We came up with the idea of the Samsung Gaming Hub so that anyone, with their friends and family, could start playing games just as people naturally turn on a TV at home,” said Heej Chung. “I hope the Samsung Gaming Hub will be a starting point to deliver the joy of gaming for all users, not just gamers.”
The visionaries behind Samsung Gaming Hub also emphasized their determination to expand content experiences. “We’re going to keep adding more content and updating new features. We are just getting started, so we hope many people will show encouragement and interest so that this service can further develop.”
The Samsung Gaming Hub invites you to a new world of gaming. Stay tuned for more updates from the Samsung Newsroom learn what unfolds next in the Samsung Gaming Hub and tips on building your ideal at-home gaming station.
1 Gaming Hub is available in the following countries/regions: U.S., Canada, UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Korea and Brazil.
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Samsung Gaming Hub, an All-New Game Streaming Discovery Platform, Now Available on 2022 Smart TVs and Smart Monitor SeriesBy STF News
Samsung Electronics announced today that the Samsung Gaming Hub1 is now rolling out to all 2022 Samsung Smart TVs bringing the best game streaming content and game playing experiences with no additional hardware or downloads needed. Announced during CES 2022, Samsung Gaming Hub is an all-in-one game streaming discovery platform where players can discover and play games they love from partners such as Xbox, NVIDIA GeForce NOW, Google Stadia, Utomik, and, coming soon, Amazon Luna. The Samsung Gaming Hub brings better, faster and more convenient access to all things gaming within Samsung TVs, including the 2022 Neo QLED 8K, Neo QLED 4K, QLEDs and 2022 Smart Monitor Series, bridging Samsung’s expertise in hardware and software for an optimal gaming experience.
“The Samsung Gaming Hub combines Samsung’s leadership in streaming technology with our experience in creating the industry’s most cutting-edge hardware, removing the barriers to entry so people can just play,” said Won-Jin Lee, President and Head of the Service Business Team at Samsung Electronics. “With expanding partnerships across leading game streaming services and expert curated recommendations, players will be able to easily browse and discover games from the widest selection available, regardless of platform.”
Where Gaming Comes Together
Powered by Tizen, Samsung Gaming Hub allows players to instantly access the games they love from industry-leading partners such as Xbox, NVIDIA GeForce NOW, Google Stadia, Utomik, and coming soon, Amazon Luna in addition to their gaming consoles and PC, all in one convenient place.2 Players can use their favorite accessories, such as Bluetooth headsets and controllers with the Samsung Gaming Hub without the need to purchase new hardware — making it easier to access games than ever before. Additionally, users will be able to see expertly curated recommendations based on the latest and most popular games.
The Samsung Gaming Hub also seamlessly integrates music and streaming services to provide access to more entertainment options during gameplay, with easy connection to Twitch, YouTube and Spotify directly on the Gaming Hub experience menu. Players can get the latest gaming news, watch tutorials, play their favorite music and podcasts and view trailers from the most anticipated games all from the new and convenient Gaming Hub.
Streaming Innovation Meets Incredible Processor and Picture Quality
Players can also look forward to an amazing gaming experience thanks to advanced motion enhancements and latency reducing technology across Samsung’s 2022 Smart TV lineup and 2022 Smart Monitor Series. Samsung’s latest lineups introduce faster decoding and optimized buffer control technology which reduces the input lag by more than an average of 30 percent compared to the previous models.
Additionally, Samsung’s latest AI upscaling technology optimizes game graphics, providing incredible 4K and 8K resolution with high color accuracy and sharpness.
For more details, visit the Samsung Gaming Hub page.
1 Gaming Hub is available in the following countries/regions: US, Canada, UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Korea and Brazil.
2 Service availability for partners may vary by region; Amazon Luna will be available in select regions later this year.
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Samsung and Microsoft Partner to Bring The Xbox App to Samsung Gaming Hub on Neo QLED 8K/4K, QLEDs and Smart Monitor SeriesBy STF News
View the full blog at its source
On Thursday, Microsoft announced that the Xbox app for smart TVs will launch this month. Starting June 30th, a new Xbox app will be available within the Samsung Gaming Hub or the Media Hub on Samsung’s 2022 smart TVs. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers will be able to play hundreds of Xbox games via the cloud from the app without a console.
Xbox app launching on Samsung smart TVs
Samsung says the Xbox app will arrive on Neo QLED and QLED TVs and 2022 Smart Monitor Series. Through the Samsung Gaming Hub, Samsung TV and monitor owners will be able to stream over 100 games. You can see the full list right here, but it includes blockbuster titles like Forza Horizon 5, Halo Infinite, NBA 2K22, and Minecraft.
Providing you have one of the supported TVs or monitors, you can just log in to an existing Microsoft account to stream Xbox games over the cloud.
The Xbox app on Samsung’s TVs and monitors will support a wide variety of controllers at launch. That includes Microsoft’s Xbox controllers and Sony’s DualSense controller for the PS5. Xbox games will only be able to stream at a maximum of 1080p at 60fps. Considering the limitations of cloud streaming, this only makes sense.
Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming, shared the following statement this week:
Other major Xbox announcements
The Xbox app on smart TVs was just one of many announcements that Microsoft made on Thursday. The company also revealed that Xbox Cloud Gaming is coming to Argentina and New Zealand. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members in those countries can play games from the cloud today. They can also play Fortnite even if they aren’t members.
Additionally, Xbox Game Pass members will soon be able to play select games they already own from the cloud. Microsoft unveiled Project Moorcraft as well. This feature will allow Xbox Game Pass members to play demos of upcoming games.
Finally, Xbox Design Lab is adding a host of new customization options. There are new pastel colors and new Camo Top cases for Xbox controllers. Plus, Xbox Design Lab is coming to 12 new countries: Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Norway, Slovakia, Switzerland, and Taiwan.
If you want to learn more about the games Microsoft has in store for 2022, tune in to the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase on June 12th at 1 p.m. ET.
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