What are you doing in three weeks’ time? Samsung hopes that on Wednesday 11 August you’ll be tuned in to the company’s live stream for the next Galaxy Unpacked event.
Actually, given Samsung has scheduled the event for 2am the next day NZST, it’s probably fair to say that the company has given much thought as to whether New Zealanders are watching or not. Sorry.
Still, speaking as someone who has to watch these events for professional reasons, I can’t say that you’ll be missing much by not seeing the event live, unless you enjoy a new smartphone being treated as the second coming of Christ. And there’s always the Apple event in September if, for some reason, that’s your bag.
In any case, the products have all been widely revealed in advance anyway thanks to prolific leaker Evan Blass. The main headliners are set to be the company’s new foldable phones: the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 – something all but confirmed by the not-so-cryptic use of the word “unfold” in the press release. “Join Samsung Electronics this August 11 for a Galaxy Unpacked event to unfold the next chapter in mobile innovations,” the company writes with all the subtlety of a neon brick to the face.
For those unfamiliar, both handsets have bendable screens, but for different purposes. The Galaxy Z Fold opens up into a larger tablet, while the Galaxy Z Flip is closer to an old fashioned flip phone where you have to open it up before you can do anything. In other words, the former is practical, while the latter is largely aesthetic.
A rumour has been doing the rounds that this is the year Samsung intends to make foldables go mainstream with a 20% price cut. That would be extremely welcome, but try not to get too excited, given it would only mean that the $3,399 Galaxy Z Fold 2 becomes the $2,719 Galaxy Z Fold 3. It’s still silly money for a phone, no matter how flexible.
But the event isn’t just those who have no problem blowing over $2,000 on a smartphone! There’s also the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE, which is a cut down version of the company’s previous flagship. There was a rumour that this was going to be cancelled to funnel limited chips towards the foldables, but I guess Samsung found some more Qualcomm Snapdragon 888s lying down the back of the sofa, and it’s apparently back on.
“FE” stands for “Fan Edition” by the way. It’s not clear why fans of a phone would buy a slightly inferior version eight months down the line – I guess PSCE (“Price Sensitive Consumer Edition”) doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.
Samsung is also keen for you to have an easily accessible screen for when your phone is in your pocket or, heaven forbid, out of battery. For that reason, it’ll be introducing two new Galaxy Watch smartwatches.
Finally, there’s the Galaxy Buds 2. Sadly, ‘buds’ stands for ‘earbuds’ rather than ‘buddies’ and these are bog-standard true wireless earbuds in the vein of Apple’s all conquering AirPods.