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Samsung Launches New Foldable 'Flip' Phone, 5G Devices


Samsung Electronics has launched a new foldable phone and several new 5G devices.

Samsung announced the telephone and other products during an event Tuesday in San Francisco, California. The new phone is called the Galaxy Z Flip. It goes on sale February 14 and has a starting price of $1,380.

When open, the Galaxy Z Flip is similar in shape and size to most smartphones. When closed, the phone collapses down to half its size, in the shape of a square.

The Galaxy Z Flip is the company’s second foldable phone. Samsung launched its first model, the Galaxy Fold, last year. That phone closes up over the middle and opens up to the size of a small tablet.

People look at different Samsung Galaxy S20 5G phones displayed at the Unpacked 2020 event in San Francisco, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
People look at different Samsung Galaxy S20 5G phones displayed at the Unpacked 2020 event in San Francisco, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Technology critics have noted design problems with the Galaxy Fold, which also experienced delays in production. There were also reports that screens on some of the first Folds began breaking after just a few days of use.

Samsung says the Z Flip’s screen is made of a glass-like material. The Galaxy Fold device had a plastic screen.

When the Z Flip is closed, users can still see the time, take selfies and be notified of messages. It can be set up in different positions for taking pictures, watching videos or typing.

Rebecca Hirst is a marketing director at Samsung Electronics. She said at the launch event that the new phone marks a “giant step forward” for the company. “We’re changing the shape of the future with the Galaxy Z Flip. This is no ordinary smartphone – it changes everything,” Hirst said.

Last year, China’s Huawei launched a foldable smartphone called the Mate X. And, Motorola recently began selling its own flip phone model, called the Razr. The device sells for $1,499.

The foldable phones represent an attempt by manufacturers to energize a market where sales have slowed. Many people are holding onto their old phones longer, in part, because new phones can be costly. In addition, critics say the new products do not necessarily offer major upgrades in performance.

Technology experts say since the new foldable models are pricey, they are likely to appeal only to a limited market.

Paolo Pescatore studies the mobile phone market for PP Foresight. He told The Associated Press that while there has been “a lot of excitement” around foldable phones, the devices are likely to go through many changes in coming years.

At its product event this week, Samsung also announced three new versions of its Galaxy S smartphone line. The phones include the S20, S20 Plus and S20 Ultra.

All the S20s promise upgraded cameras and will connect to wireless 5G. 5G is the next generation of wireless technology. It promises much higher internet speeds.

The S20 phones will go on sale in the United States on March 6, with prices from $1,000 to $1,400.

Samsung was the top smartphone company in the world last year. But Apple took the number one position in the December quarter, the research service IDC reported.

Apple’s rise came after a drop in pricing for the iPhone 11 helped the company enjoy its best growth since 2015.

Samsung and Apple also face strong competition from Huawei, which finished a close third in market share in the final three months of 2019.

I’m Bryan Lynn.

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on reports from The Associated Press, Reuters and Samsung. George Grow was the editor.

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Words in This Story

foldable adj. able to be folded or doubled over (bent in two so that one part lies flat on top of the other)

tablet n. a small computing device that is controlled by touching the screen or by using a special instrument

screenn. a flat area on an electronic device where images can be seen

type v. to write something using a keyboard

ordinary adj. not special, different or unusual

flip v. to turn or make something turn onto a different side

upgrade n. an improvement to something to make it better or higher quality

quarter – n. any three-month period