Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 et Z Flip 4 : pourquoi si peu d’innovations ?

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 et Z Flip 4 : pourquoi si peu d'innovations ?

Upon discovering the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Flip 4, you may have noticed that there were few changes compared to the previous generation. No doubt this has disappointed some people, but there are several reasons that can explain it.

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Z Flip 4 // Source: Robin Wycke – Frandroid

It probably hasn’t escaped you: Samsung recently introduced the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and the Galaxy Z Flip 4. Two new folding smartphones that perfect a formula already well-proven by the South Korean brand in this market segment. This is also the general idea that emerges from our first comments on these devices. Feel free to read them:

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However, taking the temperature inside the wording of frandroidColleagues from other tech media or our social media community, one thing seems to be clear: these new Samsung smartphones aren’t causing incredible excitement.

Few changes from one generation to another.

However, there is no doubt that it is the quintessence of the Korean ogre’s know-how that clearly elevates these products to the rank of technological showcase. The Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Z Flip 4 enjoy better finishes than ever, a powerful chip (Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1), promising new software, an improved photo unit in the Fold, a longer battery life reinforced in the Flip …

Yes, but here we are, the differences mentioned here are still (too?) inconspicuous in the end compared to the already very successful previous generation. Just do a little duel Galaxy Z Fold 4 vs Galaxy Z Fold 3 to find out. Same story in a comparison between the Galaxy Z Flip 4 and the Galaxy Z Flip 3. So a question can be asked: was there real interest in launching the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and the Galaxy Z Flip 4? To answer that, you need to understand Samsung’s position. The manufacturer is necessarily motivated by strategic reasons and subject to industrial constraints.

Samsung (too) comfortable in folding smartphones

We must remember one thing now. Samsung is a pioneer in the foldable smartphone market. The company has been working on it for many years. Surely some remember the promotional video from 2013 where the brand already showed its first visions of the phone that could become a tablet.

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The clip has aged a lot and is quite uncomfortable to watch today. Have you ever seen a woman seduced by a man just because her phone is cool? –, But she shows that Samsung has been involved in this area for a long time. Thus, he was the first real player to enter the foldable smartphone market. We agree that the very anecdotal Royole Flexpai, who had folded the first Fold mainly to make noise, doesn’t count. Therefore, the manufacturer of the Galaxy Z Fold and Z Flip occupies the position of first engine in the folding market. This has several advantages, the first of which is a high probability of occupying a hegemonic position for a long time.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 Foldable
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 folds // Source: Arnaud Gelineau – Frandroid

Huawei’s attempts do not worry Samsung, the ferocious Oppo, Xiaomi, Vivo or Honor still do not bother him outside the very particular Chinese market, Google continues to prepare its Pixel NotePad and Apple has not woken up yet. Consequently, in France, foldables account for 15% of our premium smartphone sales. We intend to increase this stake to 25%“, explains François Hernandez, vice president of Samsung Electronics France, in The world. The skipper knows that he has free rein to calmly drive his boat. “Even at these prices, we know how to sell high volumes, like with the Galaxy S22. which is in the same type of prices.»

As you may have understood, Samsung is confident and not really worried at the moment. So you can afford to rest a little on your laurels and not force yourself to make huge improvements from one generation to the next by maintaining high prices that you know you can justify by skillfully cultivating an image of refinement and technical prowess.

Avoid innovations that are too risky

We have talked about the benefits of being the first to move in a market, but this position also carries several risks. It is often to the pioneer that falls the painful task of paying for broken pots. Moreover, Samsung has not escaped. A misunderstanding at the level of the folding screen among the first testers had forced the manufacturer to delay the launch of the first Galaxy Fold. The brand had to prepare a strong communication campaign to reassure everyone.

It must be said that Samsung benefits from a unique experience in terms of crisis communication and the management of the multinational is undoubtedly still traumatized by the explosions of the Galaxy Note 7. Therefore, the firm knows very well the bitter taste of a failed launch and all the difficulties that come with it.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 multitasking
The multitasking of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 // Source: Arnaud Gelineau – Frandroid

As the first market entrant, Samsung must fully understand the risks it faces. And if we can forgive the first generation of foldable smartphones for having suffered from the casts, user indulgence is inevitably waning as technology improves. It’s not about being too reckless!

We imagine that those responsible for the brand want to ensure that a technology is perfectly mastered before integrating it into their folding models. This is how the S Pen stylus is still not entitled to a dedicated storage location in the Galaxy Z Fold 4. Also, in the latter and in the Galaxy Z Flip 4, the crease is still quite marked in the middle of the interior. screen. However, the South Korean could have tried a teardrop fold as seen on the Oppo Find N, the Vivo X Fold or, more recently, the Xiaomi Mix Fold 2.

Xiaomi Mix Fold 2 micro water drop fold
The folding in “micro drop” format of the Xiaomi Mix Fold 2 // Source: Xiaomi

However, this technique allows the slab to be stretched better when it is unfolded and to erase the gap under the fingers that bothers some people. Problem: With this method, the screen bends in more places when the phone is closed. So isn’t this taking too much risk?

A Samsung France spokesperson had suggested to us that Samsung had the technical wherewithal to adopt this teardrop fold, but that it was hard to imagine, because the company produced foldable smartphones on a larger scale than all of its Chinese competitors. We are talking about ten million deliveries in 2021.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 // Source: Arnaud Gelineau – Frandroid

Therefore, the slightest problem would threaten a large fleet. As long as it can, Samsung undoubtedly sees more advantage in taking all its time and letting other brands run into some difficulties. We imagine that several of the competitors are supplied by Samsung Display. The latter can therefore observe the performance of his chips against his opponents in order to find the best optimizations to perform.

This is reminiscent of the first 108-megapixel sensor produced by Samsung. This component was first used in a Xiaomi smartphone, several months before the Galaxy S20 Ultra. Like what, the competition can sometimes act as an R&D pole.

A market at breakneck speed

Therefore, a virtual monopoly situation and a cautious policy have undoubtedly led Samsung not to offer too many evolutions in its folders between 2021 and 2022. But suddenly, why bother launching the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and the Galaxy Z Flip 4 anyway? Couldn’t the builder wait another year?

Easier said than done. Even though the smartphone market has matured in many ways, manufacturers have made a habit of releasing at least one range update per year. The reason is simple: each actor wants to occupy the market and minds. Allowing yourself a blank year means running the risk of dampening enthusiasm, beinghas been. Unthinkable for the management and investors of a company!

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 vs. Flip 3
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 on the left and its predecessor on the right // Source: Arnaud Gelineau – Frandroid

Despite all the promises to adopt more eco-responsible behaviors (bio-sourced materials, recycling recovery, extended software monitoring, etc.), smartphone manufacturers continue to encourage consumption every year, even when the differences between two generations they seem ridiculous. The future iPhone 14 (not Pro) should be a good example of a next generation stalling.

So should we blame Samsung? Yes, probably a little, but it is above all the functioning of the smartphone market that must be questioned.

Don’t wait any longer, live happily

Is it worth avoiding the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 and the Galaxy Z Flip 4? Not really. They are fundamentally excellent smartphones. We have also started testing them and our first lab tests tend to show that there is a good gain in terms of autonomy in both devices.

However, these two smartphones are a reminder of how high hopes each year for a future product are often the best way to be disappointed. By avoiding over-enthusiasm, we are likely to avoid some disappointments. This could be the best way to quietly enjoy all the nice little things the smartphone market still has to offer.

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