Samsung's latest upgrade of the Galaxy Fold foldable smartphone has multitasking features targeted at business users. The release marks the smartphone maker's latest attempt to warm the frosty reception the device has received in the commercial market.
Samsung added a desktop-like taskbar at the bottom of the Fold4 screen to deliver multitasking features that businesspeople might find attractive. The toolbar lets people quickly flip between opened and favorite apps.
In the latest Android release, Google lent a hand to Samsung's pursuit of business users. The Fold4 will ship Aug. 26 with the foldable-focused Android 12L, which includes improved support for Google and Microsoft office productivity apps.
Whether the enhancements will lure businesses is unclear. Foldable shipments are a fraction of the smartphone market, with 7.1 million out of 1.3 billion units shipped globally in 2021, according to research firm IDC. Samsung accounted for 75% of the foldables shipped that year, with only 5% of the total going to businesses, IDC analyst Anthony Scarsella said.
In the U.S. market, Samsung would have to dethrone the Apple iPhone, which carriers sell to U.S. enterprises at a subsidized price, Gartner analyst Bill Menezes said.
Samsung's price tag for the Fold4 is $1,800, with no such discounts available. The cost is higher than buying an iPhone 13 and iPad separately.
But the first step to attracting businesspeople is supporting the software they use. Android 12L lets people drag and drop information, such as text, links and photos, between either Google or Microsoft apps. Also, Microsoft Office apps display more information and open documents side by side on the Fold4's 7.6-inch screen.
The device's new taskbar also enables users to open with one click up to three apps that they commonly use together, like a calendar, email client and web browser. Swipe gestures will easily switch apps from full- to split-screen modes.
Other Fold4 features include a brighter screen than previous models and a less-visible under-display camera. The device is lighter than its predecessor, Fold3. Like last year's model, the Fold4 is compatible with Samsung's S Pen stylus, letting workers annotate presentations or draw diagrams.
The improvements in Samsung's flagship foldable could appeal to upper executives looking for a pocket-size device with tablet-like features, Creative Strategies analyst Carolina Milanesi said.
"I'm not saying this is going to be a phone for all," she said. "I'm of the opinion that it is a C-suite kind of device."
This week, Samsung also unveiled the latest version of its consumer-focused clamshell foldable, Galaxy Flip. The $1,000 Flip4 features an upgraded camera, slimmer hinge and optimized versions of the Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook apps. The device has an Aug. 26 release date.
Mike Gleason is a reporter covering unified communications and collaboration tools. He previously covered communities in the MetroWest region of Massachusetts for the Milford Daily News, Walpole Times, Sharon Advocate and Medfield Press. He has also worked for newspapers in central Massachusetts and southwestern Vermont and served as a local editor for Patch. He can be found on Twitter at @MGleason_TT.