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August 16, 2021

Samsung Google Galaxy Watch 4 and “affordable” folding phone announced

By GlobalData Technology

Samsung announced its new Google-partnered Galaxy Watch 4 series at its virtual Unpacked event. Also launched were two foldable phones, the $1999 Z Fold 3 5G with S-Pen support and the $999 Z Flip 3 5G, and the $149 Galaxy Buds 2.

The $250 Galaxy Watch 4 and $350 Watch 4 Classic come with Samsung’s new Exynos W920 chip for smartwatches, and the new One UI Watch platform. The Z Fold 3 has a 7.6” inner screen, 6.2” cover screen, and a 4400mAh battery. The Z Flip 3 has a 6.7” inside display, 1.9” cover screen and 3300mAh battery.

Google and Samsung have both struggled in the smartwatch market and have been unable to counter Apple’s wearable leadership. The Galaxy Watch 4 is the first device merging Google’s Wear OS and Samsung’s Tizen smartwatch platforms.

Apple still rules the roost

A partnership and a unified platform allows for increased developer and app support for Samsung and hardware expertise for Google. It also expands Samsung’s smartwatch base to other Android phones and reach a portion of the non-Apple customer base. But Apple rules the roost in wearables and a Samsung-Google unified platform is still untested in usability.

The Galaxy Watch 4 series was all about health, a selling point for smartwatches, with sleep tracking, blood oxygen monitoring and body composition measuring, hinting at Fitbit’s health framework at the back end. Google bough Fitbit for $1.6 billion in November 2019. With auto switching between the new Galaxy Buds 2 and Samsung’s line of smartphones, tablets and laptops, Samsung’s ecosystem message was clear and strong, taking on Apple’s hardware and services integration

Consumer feedback is helping Samsung

Folding phones are an integral part of Samsung’s smartphone strategy. The Z Fold 3 5G and the Z Flip 3 5G, are priced cheaper than their predecessors, are more durable and offer improved water resistance. Samsung is on its fourth foldable iteration, gaining an increasing amount of consumer feedback cycled back into improving the next generation of devices.

With Huawei fast losing its grip on the smartphone market, and no sign of a foldable iPhone, this innovative category is open for Samsung’s taking. Foldable phones are high priced and have remained niche products. But at $999, the small pocketable Z Flip 3 5G is more affordable than premium 5G phones and will aid in the mainstream adoption of foldable devices. However, continuing issues with folding display will hinder adoption.

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