Making the Z Fold 4 predominant all hinges on one thing

The physical dimensions of the Galaxy Z Fold 4 have changed. The modifications may be no more than a few millimeters and grams, but they make a surprising difference in the way the phone feels — and a redesigned hinge played a huge part in making that possible. It’s an important step towards making foldable smartphones mainstream, and it’s a moment Samsung thinks is almost here.

Digital Trends spoke to Nick Porter, Vice President of Samsung UK and Vice President of Product and Business Operations Management Ireland, about the new phones, the mainstream appeal, and the all-important new hinge design.

It all depends on this

“We sincerely listen to feedback,” Porter told me, and for the Z Fold 4, customers had asked Samsung to improve one-handed operation and a different ratio screen. It introduced an internal screen with an aspect ratio of 21.6:18, which is 3mm wider than the 22.5:18 screen on the Z Fold 3, and the lid’s screen changed from a 24.5:9 ratio to a 23.1:9 ratio.

Nick Porter, Vice President of Product and Business Operations Management at Samsung UK and Ireland.
Nick Porter, Vice President of Product and Business Operations Management at Samsung UK and Ireland.

When folded and unfolded, the Z Fold 4 is a hair thinner and eight grams lighter than the Galaxy Z Fold 3. Although the fold 4 has the same width when closed, the device is 3mm shorter, and the smaller bezels make the cover screen viewing area appear larger. . A change in the aspect ratio on the inner screen, when watching a video, means that any black bars will be smaller.

“Increasing and shortening the phone’s width by 3mm means that when it’s closed, operation is smoother, and you can use it effectively with one hand without losing the advantage of opening it on a large screen.” Porter explained. “We made it thinner and lighter, changed the aspect ratio, and made the phone 6% lighter, and a lot of that is due to the work we did on the hinge.”

For the first three foldable phones, Samsung used gears mounted horizontally for the expression, but it was redesigned for the Z Fold 4. “by flipping the rotary movement [of the gears] In a linear motion, we reduced the amount of gear needed, making it slimmer and shorter so it fits in a smaller space,” Porter said, emphasizing how the hinge enables the rest of the Z Fold 4 modifications.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4.
Andrew Martinic/Digital Trends

All of this didn’t come at the expense of durability either, and the hinge still has an innovative system of brushes inside to remove dust and add lubrication, as well as an IPX8 water resistance rating. Tested to 200,000 folds, which is roughly the same as folding and unfolding a phone 100 times a day for the next five years.

mainstream appeal

“I think this is the moment when foldable devices become mainstream,” Porter told me confidently. “We started developing foldable devices in 2011, we are now in our fourth generation, and we have really learned a lot. We are now making foldable devices not just for early adopters, but for everyone.”

While the foldable screens on the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Z Flip 4 attract attention first, we should also remember that these are the most powerful smartphones Samsung has released to date, each with the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor.

“The Z Fold 4 has the fastest processor we’ve put in a phone, an improved battery, a foldable screen with 1,000 nits of brightness, and PC-like performance,” Porter said. “When we look at Z Flip 4, we focused on “pocket portability” because it’s 10% smaller, has an improved cover screen, and is the best compact camera phone we can lay down. We have enhanced the functionality and performance of these products to bring out the next generation of technology today.”

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Flip 4.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Owning two phones that attract different people is an essential step towards mainstream adoption, which according to the numbers Porter shared, is closer than you think.

“Last year, the total foldable market was 10 million units, a 300% increase over 2020. For the UK, during the first half of 2022 we saw a 700% increase in sales compared to the first half of 2020. We are seeing this Momentum is coming in demand. We’re well on our way to making foldable devices mainstream. With the right products, along with the rapid growth of the market and listening to our customers, we can see that the pivot is now happening towards the mainstream.”

Get your hands on one

It’s very nice to hear more power and a shiny new hinge, but despite Samsung being four generations, not many people have used the foldable smartphone at all.

“What we learned is that people want to try out new technology,” Porter said. “But how do we create experiences for them to touch and feel the product, then fold, and see the benefits of a screen?”

One answer is to create two giant, immersive and innovative pop-up stores in the middle of two of the world’s busiest cities.

“That’s why we have the new experience stores in London and New York, where people can come and try the phones, Galaxy Watch 5 smartwatches and Galaxy Buds 2 Pro.” Porter also revealed that several retail locations will have foldable phones available to try in store this year. “Last year, 20% of UK mobile stores had a foldable screen. , but this year, 80% will have a foldable device that people can try.”

The secret to understanding the benefits, and thus the desire to have a foldable smartphone, is actually using one. Not only are Samsung’s Z Fold 4 and Z Flip 4 more “normal” than ever, it’s easier—and if you hit one of the pop-ups to try, it’s even more fun—to actually go out and try one before you buy, too.

“It is very important that the technology moves very quickly,” Porter said. “Watching is believing in these products.”

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