Samsung Electronics’ first foldable smartphone Galaxy Fold impressed some, but naysayers are saying that the phone may not be as big a game changer as Apple’s first iPhone.
Meritz Securities, in particular, dished out one of the harshest reviews on the foldable phone by saying the newly unveiled product is far from perfect.
Samsung Electronics mobile chief Koh Dong-jin introduces the firm's first foldable smartphone Galaxy Fold during the launch event held on Feb. 20 (local time) in San Fracisco.
"The phone comes off as a prototype for testing market response,” Meritz analyst Kim Sun-woo said in a report. "It's also incomplete and lacks a competitive edge.
In particular, the 4.6-inch screen with a 21:9 aspect ratio is not spacious enough to serve as a smartphone screen while the 7.3-inch screen with a 4:3 aspect ratio is not large enough to replace a tablet PC or laptop, according to the analyst.
Kim also said a foldable phone should have a double-folding screen, which folds inward and outward on both sides, and measure at least 10 inches when fully unfolded to go mainstream.
Kim Rok-ho, an analyst at Hana Securities, said in a report the overall design and specifications were “not shockingly new.”
NH Investment and Securities, on the other hand, was not shy of giving kudos to the foldable handset, saying the transformable device will spearhead the new form factor trend.
“The Fold is forecast to sell some 1 million units a year, but the figure could rise depending on the market demand,” said Lee Gyoo-ha, an analyst from NH Investment and Securities.
There are forecasts that the US$1,980 price tag -- cheaper than previous estimates of around US$2,500 -- could appeal to a broader-than-expected range of consumers, and that the eye-catching hardware specs including the six camera modules and 12GB DRAM were other great attractions.
Meanwhile, some lukewarm optimists say that the Galaxy Fold may at least breathe some fresh air into the sluggish smartphone industry.
Suppliers, such as teleco companies and electronic material makers could also gain some traction on the rising momentum, they added.
By Kim Young-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)