What you can expect from the foldable smartphone market in India in 2023
Samsung has established a monopoly in the foldable smartphone market in India over the years. There’s been little to no competition from companies like Motorola, Vivo and Oppo that have launched foldable handsets in other parts of the world. However, all of that could change in 2023 with improvements in foldable display technology and the growing demand for foldables. Increased competition should benefit consumers with lower prices for foldable smartphones. Rumor has it that Google may also throw its hat in the ring with the launch of a foldable Pixel smartphone in the near future.
On this week’s episode of Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast, host Akhil Arora – in his last episode as host – discusses the possible future of India’s foldable smartphone segment with the editor deputy Roydon Cerejo and senior critic Sheldon Pinto.
Samsung enjoyed a monopoly in the foldable smartphone market in India. However, things could change in 2023 and some companies could possibly change the status quo. Pinto thinks Oppo, Vivo and Motorola might be the only ones doing this. All of these brands already have foldable smartphones available in China. However, none of their foldable models have made it to India lately.
It should be noted that the foldable segment is a niche market with prices exceeding rupees. 1.5 lakh mark, and this could be a factor that prevents companies from competing in this space. Despite the ultra-premium prices, the demand for foldables has increased in India. However, users should be very careful when handling foldable smartphones, especially while gaming due to the collapsible nature of the foldable screen. Pinto reveals a mishap with a previous generation Galaxy Flip model. Early foldable smartphone users were apparently used as beta guinea pigs to test the performance of their devices in the real world. This seems to have always been the case for early adopters of any technology.
Do foldable smartphones offer better features? Pinto says his experience with the Galaxy Z Flip 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 4 revealed a major flaw with the flip form factor. He had to use both hands to open the device, which sometimes felt cumbersome and inconvenient. In addition, the external screen of clamshell smartphones offers even fewer features than smartwatches. On the other hand, Cerejo has had a much better experience with larger foldable handsets. However, current foldable smartphones are still very bulky.
As for the possible foldable smartphones that might debut in India, it looks like the Oppo Find N2 and Oppo Find N2 Flip that were recently launched in China might get a global release in 2023. The Vivo X Fold+ might also arrive in India, since Vivo has already launched high-end smartphones in the country. Later in the year, Samsung may also offer its next-generation foldable models. Pinto mentions rumors that a cheaper foldable Galaxy is in the works. However, a more affordable phone could also reduce Galaxy S series sales.
Google is expected to launch a first-generation Pixel foldable phone in 2023, but it seems that this alleged model might not arrive in India in 2023. It could be the first foldable to offer high-end camera performance in this segment. It’s worth noting, however, that Google doesn’t have a good track record when it comes to new hardware. However, an increase in competition will certainly lead to better prices.
You can listen to all of this – and more – in detail on our episode by hitting the play button on the embedded Spotify player above. Meanwhile, our next episodes will be hosted by Pranav Hegde and Siddharth Suvarna.
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