Back in April 2019 Samsung was set to turn the smartphone world on its head. They were on the cusp of launching their first folding smartphone called the 'Galaxy Fold' when reviewers tore it to shreds with one screen disaster story after another. The example from The Verge below is one we displayed in our original report. Samsung halted its official launch shortly after and even when it resurfaced in the fall, the excitement over the folding phone had crashed.
The Galaxy Fold never recovered and Huawei's Mate X sales were poor. Samsung decided to introduce their second form factor called the Z Flip earlier this month and they're battling early signs of display problems as well, though it's too early to say if this will be widespread.
This coming Monday morning, Huawei will reportedly introduce a follow-up to their original Mate X with the Mate Xs which is to introduce a new hinge system, new display technology and more.
With that as a backdrop, PCMag conducted a study with 11,374 US respondents on February 9th via a Google Survey with 82% of respondents claiming that they have zero interest in purchasing a folding phone due to early signs of troubling manufacturing issues that won't be solved any time soon.
To be clear, the issue isn't with folding devices with two separate displays that Microsoft will be introducing this fall under their Surface brand. The foldable devices at issue are those with a large single flexible display actually being folded in half.
What are the biggest concerns consumers have when considering a folding smartphone? The survey results below presents the top seven issues with the top three accounting for 2/3rds of all concerns which are folding hinges will fail; that foldables will drain the battery faster; and that the screens will be too fragile over time.
Foldable smartphones, as Huawei's executives view them, are 'Super Flagship' smartphones, which would fall into a super-premium category. Neither company ever considered foldables as 'mass market' smartphones.
It's crystal clear that today's foldable smartphones are aimed at top-end super-premium consumers with cash to spare because the average American has no interest in spending more than $600 for a foldable phone as shown in the survey which is likely five years out if they still exist by then.
Samsung's Z Flip is selling for around US$1388 which is more than double what average US consumers are willing to pay.
If you're interested, there's a lot more data that you could review in the full PCMag report here.