The foldable isn't what you'd call cheap, but the pricing is a lot more accessible to people used to paying over $1,000 for flagship phones.
Samsung on Monday cut the starting price for its Galaxy Z Flip 5G foldable by $250, fulfilling a vow the head of its mobile business made in December. The unlocked version of the company's flip phone-like device now retails for $1,200 on Samsung.com and comes in mystic gray or mystic bronze finishes.
Tae-moon Roh, Samsung president and head of mobile communications, in December wrote that he would make his company's foldables "more accessible" in 2021. That was interpreted as code for cutting the prices of the expensive foldables.
The first devices that used bendable screens were expensive, as the components were in short supply and were more difficult to manufacture than regular displays. But Samsung is now on its third year of foldables, and it hopes lowering the price will help the devices attract more buyers.
Last week, Samsung said it benefited in the fourth quarter from strong demand for technologies that help people during the pandemic -- like TVs -- but its mobile business couldn't quite compete with Apple's new iPhone 12 lineup. Sales for that business tumbled 11%, while Apple's iPhone revenue climbed 17%. Samsung said its mobile revenue fell because of "intensified competition in the year-end season," and its mobile profits suffered from higher marketing costs.
Like its competition, Samsung is grappling with the coronavirus pandemic and the impact it's having on consumers. When COVID-19 first started spreading, worries about the illness caused a dramatic slowdown in phone purchases as people around the globe decided the device they had was good enough. Demand eventually recovered as new 5G phones began to hit the market, but not soon enough to boost Samsung's Galaxy S20 sales.
The pandemic has forced Samsung to shift strategy for some of its mobile products, including introducing a less expensive model of the Galaxy S20, called the S20 FE in September. And it held its Galaxy 21 launch in mid-January, about a month earlier than normal. The most notable difference from last year's Galaxy S20 lineup is the lower price, with each model retailing for $200 less than its predecessor. The company hopes the lower price tag for the S20 and Z Flip will help it attract buyers who had delayed upgrading their devices.