A flurry of Galaxy S11 rumours have popped up in the last few days, including news about a possible five camera setup, a new design and even some early renders.
But as Samsung works on its new foldable tech and heavily hints at entirely new flexible devices with different shapes, it begs the question: how can Samsung convince potential buyers to stick with the conventional, current generation handsets instead of opting for shiny new foldable phones?
The difficult debut of the Galaxy Fold won’t have put Samsung off from diving deeper into foldable phone development. It has been working hard on this tech for the better part of a decade and it’s only getting started.
The new device shapes – which include something similar to Motorola’s Razr clam-shell design – will be more eye-catching than the (presumably) familiar, oblong shaped Galaxy S11. So what features could the S11 have to keep some of the gaze away from show-stealing flexible phones?
When Samsung released the Note Edge in 2014, it did two things: test the market for its receptiveness to a new display technology and let Samsung know if it was financially worth manufacturing an awkward technology en masse. That curved display technology made its way into the main Galaxy S and Note ranges and, well, the rest is history.
The same may be happening with foldable phones. Samsung could gradually move its foldable tech into the flagship range and relegate the current generation phones to second tier devices. Samsung releases three flagship devices in April and two in August, one of those could feasibly be a foldable phone.
The ‘plus’ model of the Note and Galaxy S ranges typically act as the home for the highest-end hardware and specifications, which would make sense for a newly rebranded Fold. Samsung leaker Ice Universe, who has a good track record for accuracy, hinted yesterday that the S11+ “is not similar to the S11”.
S11+ is not the same as S11. If S10 is similar to S10+, or Note10 is similar to Note10+, then I can say that S11+ is not similar to S11, and there are some obvious differences.
— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) November 22, 2019
If that turns out to be accurate, where does that leave the S11? Samsung will have to bring the price of the Fold down to make it more accessible to casual phone buyers, so the S11, too, will probably have to drop in price.
A dramatic realignment in pricing could mean Samsung’s near-perfected Galaxy range – which excels in every area – gets a significant price cut to make way for the next generation of foldable phones. The best (or near best) camera, battery life and performance for a couple hundreds dollars less would be an irresistible proposition.
The Galaxy Fold housed the biggest battery Samsung had ever inserted into a smartphone – and for good reason. The large extended display is a power drainer, which means the good overall battery life of the Fold varies depending on long the device is used when fully extended.
If, as it has hinted, Samsung goes with the Motorola Razr clam-shell shape, then the battery could likely be quite a bit smaller. Why? The appeal of going with a flip-up design is that it’s compact and pocketable, which happens to leave a lot less space for a big battery. For example look at the Razor’s 2510mAh battery that’s supposed to power a 6.2-inch display when it’s flipped open.
Samsung’s already good battery life for the S10 could be extended to put some clear daylight between the current and next generation devices. A bigger battery, in a thicker phone that accommodates it, would fit with the price-cut too. The ‘budget’ phone from all manufacturers always prides itself on low price and big batteries to appeal to certain markets where those features are important.
So if there is a realignment in what Samsung considers to be a flagship, then lean fully into it and make the S11 the perfect budget all-rounder, in the same way Google has with its 3A range.