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Samsung is releasing the latest versions of its two foldable smartphones: the Galaxy Z Flip4 (above) and the Galaxy Z Fold4. Photo: Samsung

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 and Z Fold4: what’s new in 2022 for the folding smartphones – details from the Korean giant’s Unpacked event

  • The Galaxy Z Flip4 has a classic clamshell design with a 1.9-inch screen when closed. New this year is better integration with the phone’s FlexCam and Meta apps
  • The Galaxy Z Fold4 folds out from a smartphone shape to a tablet. New this year: a taskbar similar to a computer, and improved Google and Microsoft services

Is this the year smartphone consumers finally bend towards devices with folding screens?

Samsung has just introduced its latest foldable smartphones, the Galaxy Z Flip4 and Galaxy Z Fold4. Both devices are available to pre-order, and will formally launch on August 26.

The Galaxy Z Flip4, which resembles the classic clamshell designs on earlier phones, starts at US$999.99. The Galaxy Z Fold4, which looks like a standard smartphone, but folds out for a tablet-like viewing experience, starts at US$1,799.99.

“Created in collaboration with our world-class partners, the next foldable devices offer unparalleled mobile experiences that meet the needs of our most dynamic users,” said T. M. Roh, president and head of the mobile eXperience business at Samsung.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4 foldable smartphone has a 6.7-in screen when open, and 1.9-in when folded. Photo: via Reuters

The devices, along with a new smartphone and wireless earbuds, were revealed during Samsung’s Unpacked event.

Here’s a breakdown of everything they announced.

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Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4

The Galaxy Z Flip4 has a 6.7-inch screen when fully open. When in clamshell form, it has a smaller but still functional 1.9-inch Super Amoled display.

When closed, owners can still take calls, answer texts, take pictures and even unlock their cars with supported digital keys.

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As with previous models, users can also use a flex mode for viewing different apps depending on how the phone is positioned. For example, if the phone is partially opened, it will split the full screen into two displays, one for a video view and the second for touch controls.

New this year is better integration with the phone’s FlexCam, which uses the front-facing camera while in flex mode, and apps from Meta, including Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

The phone has a slimmer hinge, as well as straightened edges. It will be available in four colours: bora purple, graphite, pink gold, and blue.

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 foldable smartphone has a screen that goes from 6.2 inches to 7.6 inches. Photo: via Reuters

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4

When it’s closed, the Z Fold4 looks like a standard smartphone, with a 6.2-inch screen, but customers can open the device for a larger 7.6-inch display, similar to a small tablet.

This year, the Z Fold4 is adding a taskbar similar to a computer, so users can get quick access to favourite or recent apps. The phone also adds new swiping gestures to multitask, such as using two apps simultaneously in a split-screen view.

The Z Fold4 also has its own flex mode where users can visit apps while the phone is partially open.

Samsung is also working more closely with Google and Microsoft to ensure their services, including Gmail and Outlook, are more user-friendly on the Z Fold4.

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There are other new touches as well, including improved cameras, a brighter display and a less visible under-display camera. It also has a slimmer hinge like the Flip4, and is lighter compared with last year’s Fold device.

The big question is whether consumers are finally ready to consider smartphones with a folding screen.

Last year, global shipments of foldable phones reached 7.1 million units, according to research firm IDC. The company projects market value for foldable devices will hit US$29 billion by 2025.

“Samsung has proven that there is consumer demand for foldable phones once they hit the right price and feature a more stable build,” said Anthony Scarsella, a research manager with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, in February.