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Samsung says Z Fold 3, Z Flip 3 preorders have surpassed its total 2021 foldable sales

Exactly what those numbers are, however, Samsung wouldn't say.

Samsung Z Flip 3
Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung's new Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 are doing well on preorders, the company claims. How well? That part isn't exactly clear.

On Monday the company boasted that "preorder volume" for the new devices was already "outpacing total sales for Galaxy Z devices to date in 2021." Samsung would not, however, disclose how many Z series devices have been preordered or how many foldables have been sold this year. 

In the first half of 2021, Samsung likely sold about 2.3 million foldables around the globe, Strategy Analytics analyst Ken Hyers estimated, while it likely sold about 700,000 in the US. For 2020, the Fold's and the Flip's first year on the market, the analyst firm pegged Samsung at about 2 million foldables sold globally. The firm estimates that this year, Samsung will sell about 5.2 million, a tiny fraction of the 1.35 billion smartphones it expects will be sold this year. 

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Samsung and other vendors are counting on foldable devices to be the future of the mobile market. The company has incorporated the screens in its highest-end products since 2019, but they haven't yet taken off with consumers. Samsung hopes the changes it has made in its new foldables -- namely, more durable materials and lower prices -- will help them attract mainstream buyers. 

In May, Korean outlet The Elec noted that Samsung was hoping to sell between 6 million and 7 million Z series devices this year, with the new Flip accounting for 3.5 million to 4 million units and the new Fold adding 2.5 million to 3 million units to that total. 

Unveiled earlier this month, both devices are more refined and cheaper than prior iterations, with the Z Flip 3 starting at $1,000 and the Z Fold 3 coming in at $1,800. The first Z Flip, which only had 4G, cost $1,380, while the later 5G version retailed for $1,450. Last year's Z Fold 2 started at $2,000. 

In his review, CNET editor Patrick Holland praised the Z Flip 3 as Samsung's "most 'normal' foldable phone" yet, adding that "based on my time with the phone, I believe Samsung mostly got it right."

The new devices hit stores Friday.

CNET's Shara Tibken contributed to this report.