The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 aren't expected to break cover until next month – at the next big Samsung hardware launch event – but we now have some rumors relating to the 2023 successors to these foldables.
As per The Elec (via Android Central), both phones are going to come running the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 mobile processor. That CPU hasn't been announced yet, but it should become official before the end of 2022.
What's more, according to the sources that The Elec has spoken to, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 is likely to come with a triple-lens rear camera, including a 50MP main sensor. The current Galaxy Z Fold 3 handset offers a 12MP+12MP+12MP rear camera.
Supply and demand
This new report also suggests that the foldables Samsung launches in 2023 might not be as easy to get as the 2022 equivalents: the shipments target has been "set conservatively" at 10 million units in total, compared to 15 million units for the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and the Galaxy Z Flip 4.
Most of those units will be the Flip, with Samsung expecting the clamshell foldable to account for 8 million of those 10 million sales. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3 are thought to have shifted a little over 7 million units in terms of sales.
The Elec cites the rising prices of raw materials, economic uncertainty, and the continuing effects of the global coronavirus pandemic as reasons why the number of target shipments will be lower in 2023 – but there's still time for Samsung to raise its targets again.
Analysis: price is key to future foldable success
Foldable phones are engineering marvels, and it's no surprise that prices for the first iterations of these devices have been very high – what with them having displays that actually bend in the middle without breaking.
At the time when they were launched, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3 were retailing for $1,799 / £1,599 / AU$2,499 and $999 / £949 / AU$1,499 respectively. The new models due next month might knock those prices down slightly as Samsung's production processes get more efficient, but if they do, it's unlikely to be by much.
That's a lot of money to spend on a smartphone, even if you are getting a lot back in return (especially when it comes to the Z Fold 3 and its huge 7.6-inch screen). A large proportion of people simply aren't going to be able to justify the cost of a foldable phone, looking at where the pricing is right now.
Costs should come down over time – that's what usually happens with technology – but issues relating to the pandemic and global supplies might well affect that. Until these foldables get more affordable, they're likely to remain a niche choice.