While it’s common for Apple events to be held in Cupertino, this was the first time Samsung held an event at its home in South Korea.
Samsung brought me to Seoul to attend the event and get a behind-the-scenes look at their headquarters and the city.
“The culture here is one, I think, of love for technology, there’s a love for, for fashion and new things, and I think a lot of that comes together with our foldables, so it’s a really unique time to be able to announce that in Korea,” said Drew Blackard, Vice President of Mobile Product Management at Samsung Electronics America.
Samsung’s presence here is massive – their name is on buildings, signs, and tens of thousands of employees stroll the company’s sprawling Digital City campus.
There’s even a Samsung Innovation Museum (SIM for short) that chronicles over 60 years of electronics history. The campus also houses research and development buildings, plus things like a rock-climbing like wall and swimming pool.
All of this was to set up how innovation is synonymous with Samsung, and foldable phones represent the future.
“We’re seeing every year more and more consumers are adopting foldables for the first time and they do adopt them, that they love them and they’re staying loyal to the brand, to the form factor,” said Blackard.
This year’s Galaxy Z Flip 5 ($1,000) features a larger outside screen, while the Galaxy Z Fold 5 ($1,800) has a redesigned hinge. Both close shut without a gap – a critical turning point for the technology and one that makes them easier to hold and pocket.
“We find high loyalty as well, so when someone tries a Foldable, they understand the value of those only on Foldable use cases, and then they, you know, want the next one,” said Blackard.
I spent the day in Seoul with the new foldable phones, and the form factor does have some advantages, especially for taking pictures and videos in more unique ways.
Is it necessary yet? Not really, but it’s a unique way of pushing the boundaries of what a phone form factor can be.
Sales of foldables are increasing every year, led mostly by countries including China, and Samsung’s home of South Korea.
“In the grand scheme of things is really just the beginning for foldable technology,” concluded Blackard.