Samsung has sent out invitations for an August 11 product launch event. The invite might not look like much, but it strongly hints at what products we’ll see: the Galaxy Z Fold 3 (the dark gray shape) and the Galaxy Z Flip 3 (the purple and light gray shape). It’s clearly a foldables event, but we also might see the Galaxy Watch 4, the launch device for Google and Samsung’s revamp of Wear OS.
Normally, Samsung’s August launch event would point to the announcement of the S-Pen-equipped Galaxy Note, but all indications show that the Galaxy Note is dead this year. Samsung shipped an external S-Pen for the Galaxy S21 Ultra, and along with optional support for the Z Fold 3, that will have to be enough for fans of handwriting.
The Fold 3
As usual, most of these devices have leaked already. 91 Mobiles has official press renders of the Galaxy Z Fold 3, which looks a lot like the Z Fold 2 from last year. Samsung’s second swing at a tablet-like foldable was a nice refinement of the original Galaxy Fold, with a bigger front display and foldable glass on the inside.
It looks like Samsung is not going all-out with the camera on the Galaxy Fold 3, which only features three round lenses, lacking any of the fancy periscope tech you’d see on something like the Galaxy S21 Ultra. The important part of this device is the foldable screen, and there’s hope that Samsung will cut a few corners in other areas to bring the price down a bit from the stratospheric $2,000 price tag of the Galaxy Fold 1 and 2. A report from SamMobile claims that the phone is getting a 20 percent cut, so maybe we’ll see something like a $1,600 price tag? It’s progress.
There’s not much of a hard spec sheet out there yet, but all of these flagship phones have similar specs. The displays are expected to be a 7.55-inch main display and a 6.23-inch outside display, and both displays will supposedly run at 120 Hz. The Fold 2 had a 60 Hz outside display and a 120 Hz inside display, which was odd. One of the wilder rumors is that Samsung’s foldables will be water-resistant this year, which would be an engineering feat given all the moving parts in the hinge and the floating, sliding interior display. You could slip pieces of paper into the gaps of the original Galaxy Fold, so water resistance would represent a large jump forward.
The Flip 3
The invitation also hints at the Galaxy Z Flip 3, a regular-sized smartphone that folds up into a chunky brick. The Z Flip 1 launched in 2020, and if you’re wondering, “Did Samsung really release three phone models in 18 months?” the answer is no—the Z Flip 2 never existed. Samsung wants number uniformity between the Fold and Flip, so it’s skipping a number.
There are official press renders of this phone, too (from GizNext), and inside, it looks a lot like the Z Flip 1. The big changes are on the outside, where you get a bigger 1.9-inch front display and two larger cameras. The front display is nearly double the size of the microscopic 1.1-inch front display on the Z Flip 1 and should help address what was one of our biggest complaints with the device. All these foldables take a significant amount of effort to open up, usually requiring two hands (the Flip hinge is not spring-loaded like a flip phone), and that makes having a capable exterior screen for quick interactions very important. When your phone beeps, you want to be able to quickly check a notification, and a larger screen will make that a lot more convenient. The Z Flip still seems behind designs like the Moto Razr, though, which had a 2.7-inch outside display.
Plus a watch, maybe?
It’s a bit alarming that the invite makes no reference to the Galaxy Watch 4, but we’ll hopefully see Samsung’s flagship smartwatch announced at the event, too. The device was already briefly listed on Amazon, and the official photos were captured by WinFuture.de. Samsung has a 44 mm regular version and a 46 mm “Classic” design, which has second numbers engraved into the watch bezel.
Far more interesting than the design is the software this watch will come with: Google and Samsung’s team-up revamp of WearOS, Google’s struggling Android-based smartwatch platform. WearOS’ last big feature update was in 2018, and since then, we’ve only seen basic maintenance development. Not much is known about the new version, but hopefully it will have touches of the beautiful “Material You” design direction Android 12 is emphasizing.
Samsung is abandoning Tizen for smartwatches and switching to Google’s OS, which should bring it better app support. Samsung is also bringing Samsung-designed SoCs to the party, which should greatly help the two companies field a competitive smartwatch. Previously, Wear watches needed a Qualcomm chip, and Qualcomm hasn’t really been interested in making competitive SoCs for wearables. Even last year’s Galaxy Watch 3 SoC, the 10 nm Exynos 9110, would be an upgrade over anything Qualcomm currently produces, but the Galaxy Watch 4 is getting an SoC a generation ahead of that with the Exynos W920. Here’s hoping Samsung provides details.
Other than maybe an earbuds release, that’s all we’re expecting for Samsung’s next big launch. Tune in on August 11!