Like most teenagers in the mid-2000s, the first cellphone my parents got me was a flip phone. It was a cute, Sonic blue flip phone from Sanyo (if anyone remembers that brand), and I was able to do almost everything I could on a smartphone today. Except for texting, thanks to Sprint’s four cents per character rates.
Teens today don’t get that same experience, but they now have something a little similar yet more advanced: a foldable phone. I’m not entirely sure what percentage of teens are carrying around a Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 or Galaxy Z Fold 3 in their pockets today compared to the iPhone, but Samsung said last Friday that foldable phones would comprise over 50% of its premium phones by 2025. This estimate is based on data from Omdia, saying that the Korean company sold a combined 7.1 million units of Galaxy Z Flip and Galaxy Z Fold through 2021, with the former device leading with 4.6 million shipments.
With the Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Galaxy Z Fold 4 coming out later this month, seeing foldable phones overtake regular smartphones within the next three years is an exciting prospect. To have Samsung pushing foldable phones into the market instead of Apple for once is something I really love to see. And this is coming from someone who defected from Android to iOS two-and-a-half years ago.
But more than that, the fact that flip phones are making a modern comeback fills 13-year-old-me with joy.
Flipping flip phones
You know how some retro technology has made a comeback in the last few years, like Polaroids and vinyl record players? The latter remains unchanged for music lovers, while the former has undergone design changes so you can turn your
Flip phones have made a comeback, too, but Samsung flipped them, took their primitive designs, and incorporated them into smartphones to give them a nostalgic vibe. To wit, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 and Flip 4 retain the horizontal clamshell design of a regular flip phone, but instead of being a rectangular shape when closed, it’s as square as a compact mirror or a Game Boy Advance SP.
The Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Fold 4 also have a clamshell design, only it “folds” vertically like an eyeshadow palette or a Nintendo 3DS (sorry I keep mentioning Nintendo’s portable gaming systems, but they’re kind of my frame of reference). The best part about it is that you can use it as either a normal
A tech culture reset
The emergence of foldable phones had me convinced that the term “foldable phone” is Newspeak for “flip phone.” To put it simply, Samsung revamped flip phones for a new generation of
Apple usually leads the
Today, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Galaxy Z Fold 4 are on their way to the market, and we’re slowly building up to the idea of using a
I also like to think that Samsung created foldable phones to offset the frequent usage of regular smartphones. We’re all glued to our screens 24/7 as it is. By taking a retro piece of tech and repurposing it for the digital era, Samsung might be giving us permission to really, finally close up our phones and focus on things that really matter to us. I hope foldable phones become the new standard
But no matter what form foldables take — flip phone or not — I love that Samsung is trying something different. Whether you want the Z Flip for fewer distractions or a Z Fold to get more done, they’re devices that are pushing the market forward in fun and exciting ways. And I love every bit of it.
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