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Samsung's ready to update its foldable devices. The company on Tuesday said it will host a virtual Unpacked event on Aug. 11, where it's expected to show off less expensive foldables that aim to move the devices beyond niche products.
The company sent invites to reporters, saying its virtual keynote will take place at 7 a.m. PT on Aug. 11. While parts of the world are reopening in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, tech companies aren't yet holding product launches in person. The invite touted: "Get ready to unfold."
While Samsung hasn't yet detailed what it will announce at Unpacked, it has already opened up itssystem for Galaxy fans to claim a device in advance. Customers who reserve early are eligible for perks such as 12 months free of Samsung Care Plus, up to an extra $100 trade-in credit and a special pre-order offer that Samsung hasn't yet detailed.
The event on Aug. 11 is Samsung's third Unpacked of the year, and it's expected to continue a trend set by previous launches -- making devices more affordable for consumers. In, the company unveiled its flagship Galaxy S21 smartphone, . Then in , it .
TM Roh, the company's head of mobile, said in a December blog post that Samsung planned to expand its foldable lineup andwhich likely means more affordable.
"The Z Fold 2 was praised as a smartphone that reimagines what's possible with mobile technology, and I'm excited to say, it's just a hint of what's to come as we continue to explore, evolve and expand this category-changing space," Roh wrote at the time.
Samsung's bigger push with making devices more affordable reflects the reality we're all living in. Phone designs aren't changing much from year to year, and consumers are holding onto devices for longer, about three years in the US versus two in the past. At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic has hurt millions of people financially. While high-end specs and cutting-edge features are nice for attention and buzz, people still care about what they're spending on phones -- especially right now.
Samsung typically uses its August Unpacked event to show off its newest Galaxy Note devices. The Note line, which kicked off the craze for big-screen phones, used to showcase Samsung's latest and greatest technology. But that title now goes to the company's foldables lineup. The devices, which first hit the market in 2019 with the $1,980 Galaxy Fold, incorporate bendable displays that let them expand into tablets or fold smaller to protect the inner screen. While Samsung likely won't introduce a new Note this year, the .
Samsung followed up the Fold with its Z Flip in February 2020. That device, which retailed for $1,380, was a clamshell design that folded outward -- a sort of high-tech flip phone. Samsung updated it with 5G connectivity and boosted the price to $1,450 in July of that year. Samsung's latest device, the Z Fold 2, fixed the original Fold's problems and packed in bigger screens and 5G connectivity. Priced at $2,000, it became the company's most expensive phone.
Samsung's first Galaxy Fold, which folded outward from a phone into a tablet, wowed most people who tested early versions of the device. But foldables have been too expensive to attract mainstream buyers, and .
This year, Samsung is expected to introduce a new Galaxy Z Fold 3 and an updated Z Flip 3. The former device is expected to feature a front-facing camera embedded beneath the screen, refined rear-facing cameras and support for a special version of the S Pen, which has gradually moved beyond the Note to work with other devices. The Z Flip 3 could have a new two-tone color scheme and a larger exterior screen for when the phone is folded shut.
Along with foldables, Samsung's Unpacked is expected to include a new Galaxy S21 FE 5G phone, adding a second device to the less expensive FE lineup. The, which hit the market in September for $300 less than the S20, proved to be popular with buyers. A Samsung executive told CNET in March that the .