Foldable phones are inevitably expensive, with even the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 having a high-end price, and the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 starting at $1,799.99 / £1,749 / AU$2,599. So, price is a big barrier to entry, but it might not always be, because Samsung is reportedly working on a Galaxy Z-series FE foldable.
This is according to @Tech_Reve (who’s accurately leaked things in the past). In a post on X, they make a number of claims, including that the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE will launch soon and that new Galaxy S FE models might launch annually from now on.
But most interesting is the mention of a Samsung Galaxy Z-series FE model, which is apparently in testing to be launched after the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 and the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 6. Going by how Samsung has used the FE name previously, this would be a cheaper version of whatever the latest Z Fold or Z Flip device is at the time of its launch.
The S23 FE is set to be released soon, and there are possibilities that Samsung plans to consistently introduce the FE brand annually. Simultaneously, there are rumors of ongoing testing for the launch of the Galaxy Z FE(lite model), after the Fold/Flip 6.August 20, 2023
Of course, we’d take this with a pinch of salt, and all the more so because their actual words are that “there are rumors” of a Galaxy Z FE being tested. So, it sounds like they’re not certain, and something being tested doesn’t mean it will necessarily launch, either.
But this is a believable claim, as it makes sense that Samsung would aim to reduce the cost of foldable phones so that they can become more mainstream. In fact, not so long ago, Drew Blackard, vice president of mobile product marketing at Samsung, specifically said in an interview with Tom’s Guide that “foldables eventually will come down in price.”
So, sooner or later we will probably see more affordable foldable phones from Samsung, whether or not they carry FE branding.
Even if we believe @Tech_Reve’s claims, though, there are still a few key questions. For one thing, they don’t specify whether this will be a Galaxy Z Flip 6 FE or a Galaxy Z Fold 6 FE, or whether we’ll see both. The Fold is arguably more in need of a cheaper version, since it costs so much more, but a reduced price Flip model could come with more of a mid-range price tag, which isn’t something we could see Samsung managing with a Galaxy Z Fold FE anytime soon.
Then there’s the question of when Samsung would actually launch this device. If it comes after the Galaxy Z Flip 6 and Fold 6, as @Tech_Reve claims, then that probably means sometime after August 2024, but it could be a long time after – perhaps in 2025.
Finally, it will be interesting to see how Samsung cuts costs. The price of foldable phone tech may naturally reduce over time, but for an FE model, Samsung would inevitably deliver lesser specs. With the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE (which is the latest FE model) that mostly meant less RAM and worse cameras than the standard Samsung Galaxy S21, so perhaps we’ll see the same here.
We doubt Samsung would want to compromise the screens too much anyway, as they’re the main selling points of the best foldable phones.
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James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.