NEW DELHI: It’s the new fad in the smartphone industry, and is picking up on new launches. Foldable phones or those offering dual screens — though still a niche — are gaining in volumes as video and content consumption remains strong and the ultra-premium devices also offer the flaunt factor to the buyers. Making the purchasing relatively easier are the many financing options which enables buyers to pay for the devices – that in most cases cost upwards of Rs 1 lakh — through EMIs.
While Samsung was the first company to bet on the category as it launched the first foldable device — and a flip phone — way back in 2019, others have also joined the trend. Vivo in June recently also made a debut in the category with the X Fold3, while Motorola already sells the Motorola Razr and OnePlus Open. Oppo also got the Find N3 Flip in October last year.
Interestingly, in tune with the current trend of devices becoming intelligent, most of the dual screen smartphones sold in the market now come heavily built around AI, offering features such as circle to search, chat assist and sketch to image.
Samsung is using AI as a strong pull factor to market the sixth generation of its flagship Galaxy Z Fold6 which it launched with an entry price of Rs 1.6 lakh (256 GB version) on Wednesday. Samsung’s Flip carries a price tag of Rs 1.1 lakh.
“The dual screens are gradually getting their own set of buyers, largely as the devices are aspirational, offer large screen size for watching content, and come with a novelty factor,” Raju Pullam, Senior VP of Samsung’s India mobile business, told TOI. “We are seeing a lot of consumer upgrades to dual screens, especially from the Rs 30,000-50,000 category.”
As per IDC, almost a million foldable phones were sold in India last year, still a small number in the overall industry sales of 146 million units. However, companies say the adoption is only going to go up from here as higher content consumption and faster networks such as 5G will prompt people to go for bigger screens.
“Foldable smartphones offer larger displays, making work and entertainment more accessible and enjoyable. This new form factor also complements customer aspirations and style. Potential buyers of foldable devices are those seeking not just a premium smartphone experience but a device that enables efficient multitasking for long hours on the go, along with primary functions such as photography,” an official at Vivo said, asking not to be named. “The demand for distinctive form factors like foldable phones is expected to keep growing.”
Samsung’s Pullam said easier financing options on premium smartphones — led by NBFCs and other platforms — also means that people can access them through EMIs. “Enhanced affordability through easier financing routes is also driving up the adoption of foldables in India,” he said.