The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, September 02, 2020 1:00 am

Foldable phone from Samsung costs $2,000

MICHAEL LIEDTKE | Associated Press

SAN RAMON, Calif. – Samsung's second attempt at a foldable smartphone will come with a $2,000 price tag and a few elite perks aimed at affluent consumers.

The phone, dubbed the Z Fold2, will include a VIP package that will provide access to fancy restaurants and golf clubs to supplement the device's multipurpose design.

When folded, the device looks like most other phones. But when its interior 7.6-inch screen is opened up along its side hinges, it transforms into the equivalent of a mini-tablet.

“It's definitely a luxury device,” said Drew Blackard, Samsung's vice president of mobile product management in the U.S.

Samsung provided a glimpse of the Z Fold2 last month while unveiling other new phones that cost at least $1,000, but waited until Tuesday to provide details about how much it will cost and when it will be in stores. Anyone willing to pay the Z Fold2's lofty price will be able to place an order online beginning today. It will be available in stores Sept. 18.

The Z Fold2 is supposed to be sturdier than last year's inaugural model. That initial foldable device proved to be far more fragile than Samsung had hoped, even after delaying its release by several months in an effort to fix issues noticed by people who received review models.

The South Korean technology giant is hoping the versatility will infuse some excitement in a smartphone market that hasn't seen many breakthroughs aside from better cameras and other minor tweaks.

The new phone will also be equipped with the technology required to work on new ultrafast wireless networks known as 5G that are rolling out. That's another advantage over older phones that Samsung believes will prod more people to consider splurging on a new device.

Blackard cites another reason new phones are likely to draw interest: Even as more people work from home on laptop and desktop computers, they also have been using their mobile devices more frequently.

Even so, Blackard conceded the Z Fold2 is likely to have limited appeal at a time when the recession has caused the unemployment rate to soar and is forcing millions of households to pinch pennies just to pay the monthly rent or mortgage.

In an effort to reach all ends of the market, Samsung recently introduced a 5G phone, the Galaxy A51, that sells for $500.

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