Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 15 October 2019

UAE consumers can pre-order Samsung's Galaxy Fold from Sunday

The price of the foldable smartphone, which had its release delayed, is expected to be Dh7,273

Samsung's new Galaxy Fold had its global release delayed after reviewers noticed issues with the folding mechanism. Antonie Robertson/The National
Samsung's new Galaxy Fold had its global release delayed after reviewers noticed issues with the folding mechanism. Antonie Robertson/The National

UAE consumers can pre-order Samsung's new Galaxy Fold - its first foldable smartphone - from Sunday, the company announced at a media briefing in Dubai.

The world's largest smartphone maker spent nearly eight years developing the device, but had to postpone its global release on April 26 after reviewers reported screen problems within days of use.

After months of "refining" the Fold - which is 5G ready in some markets - Samsung launched it in selected countries including South Korea, the US, Germany and France in the first week of last month.

Its UAE price is expected to be Dh7,273.

With six cameras, the device features the world’s first infinity flex display, at 18.5 centimetres, which folds into a compact device with a cover display.

The UAE has been one of the most important markets for smartphone manufacturers thanks to its extensive internet penetration. A November 2018 YouGov survey found that nine in 10 respondents in the UAE own a smartphone, with 70 per cent of those without a device planning to buy one.

Samsung, which will accept pre-orders until October 16, has not yet revealed the date when UAE customers can expect delivery of the foldable handset.

Industry analysts say the delayed UAE launch has adversely impacted the initial "excitement bubble" built up in February when the smartphone was first unveiled at the global launch in San Francisco.

“The delay has impacted the excitement,” Abbas Ali, managing editor of TechRadar Middle East, told The National.

“I don’t think its huge price will deter sales. This phone is for a niche segment of customers who like classy and expensive phones.”

Following in Samsung’s footsteps, Huawei also announced its first foldable phone, the Mate X, at the Mobile World Congress in February. In its compact form, the device works as a smartphone with a 16.8cm screen and, when unfolded, it turns into a slim tablet with a 20.3cm screen that is 5.4mm thick.

Global smartphone shipments fell by almost 2.3 per cent to reach 333.2 million units in the second quarter of 2019, according to data compiled by International Data Corporation.

South Korean brand Samsung maintained the top position with a 22.7 per cent global market share while Huawei retained the number two slot with a market share of over 17 per cent market. Suffering a yearly drop of more than 18 per cent in shipments, Apple’s market share fell to 10.1 per cent.

Updated: October 5, 2019 12:12 PM

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