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Report: Samsung to launch three foldable phones in 2021, but there’s a catch

Rumours are heating up in preparation for 2021, which will presumably be a big year for foldable phones. Samsung, of course, looks to be at the forefront of foldable phone technology, following up the disastrous first release of the Galaxy Fold with the improved Galaxy Z Fold 2, along with the clamshell Galaxy Z Flip.

Now, of course, we’re already waiting for the next foldable phone from the company—and rumours previously indicated that we’ll see the Galaxy Z Fold 3 launched sometime in June 2021.

Meanwhile, The Elec reports that Samsung will release three foldable phone models, based on information from OLED display research company UBI Research. According to them, Samsung Display is working on OLED panels for three foldable phone models—probably the Galaxy Z Flip 2, Galaxy Z Fold 3… and an “affordable” Galaxy Z Fold Lite. Naming hasn’t been confirmed, so the last model on that list might just be called the Z Fold FE, if Samsung’s recent naming patterns are anything to go by.

What’s the catch?

The catch, it seems, will be that the Galaxy Z Fold 3 will reportedly pair a 4″ cover display with the main 7″ display. This would be a regression from the Z Fold 2, which improved upon the Galaxy Fold’s 4″ external screen with a larger 6.23″ cover display. As my colleagues have said in the past, the biggest obstacle (beyond the fragility of the display) of the original Galaxy Fold was the small cover display, which is very often the display that you look at the most throughout the day.

Samsung is looking to offset that compromise with some new tech, however. The report states that the Z Fold 3 will feature an under panel camera (no notches or hole-punch cutouts), and as previously rumoured, users will finally get S Pen support on a foldable phone. Meanwhile, the Galaxy Z Fold Lite (or FE) will share the same screen size with its more expensive brother, and The Elec predicts that it will be launched during Q1 2021—ahead of a Q3 release for the Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 2.

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All three models will also have ultra-thin glass as “cover windows”, with the clamshell Z Flip 2 to feature a 6.7″ main display and a 3″ external screen. This, unlike the Z Fold 3’s expected specs, will be an improvement over the 1.1″ cover display of the Galaxy Z Flip, although UBI Research does not expect to see a change to the centrally-placed hole-punch cutout for the selfie camera.

At the moment, Samsung has not confirmed dates or any of the information above. But if the rumours are true, I can’t understand why Samsung would go with a smaller cover display on the flagship foldable. Perhaps this would make more sense on the “Lite” version, and it’s still unclear if the Korean company will include S Pen support on the more affordable foldable phone.

In any case, the reason why Samsung skipped S Pen support for their previous foldable phones is supposedly due to how fragile the display was on those models. Now, the company might be using ultra-thin glass that is at least double the thickness, which should be enough to use with a stylus.

So, what do you think? Would a smaller cover display be a deal-breaker? Let us know in the comments section below.


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