Samsung's Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 2 display specs leak, cheaper Z Fold Lite to be released in Q1

Samsung's Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 2 display specs leak, cheaper Z Fold Lite to be released in Q1
Samsung is gearing up to announce not one or two like in 2019 and 2020, but three foldable phone types in 2021, according to an UBI Research analysis. It released the OG Galaxy Fold in 2019, reworked it entirely in 2020 with the Z Fold 2, and then added the horizontal clamshell folder of the Z Flip line.

So far, so good, the Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 2 are in the pipeline, that much we could've guessed, too. What's the new foldable phone that Samsung will be launching in 2021 then? The OLED display research firm says it will be none other than the Galaxy Z Fold Lite that was supposedly out of the game, and it will be released as early as next quarter, perhaps after the Galaxy S21 series Unpacked announcement

Makes a lot of sense, as a cheaper Fold Lite will ensure that Samsung has a bendy phone in every segment - a vertical folder, a horizontal folder, and an affordable folder - to take up every nook and cranny in that particular market niche before others.

Galaxy Z Fold 3, Z Fold Lite, and Z Flip 2 specs and release dates

  • Galaxy Z Fold Lite: internal screen no bigger than 8" (likely to remain 7.6"), 4"-5" external display, March 2021 launch.
  • Galaxy Z Fold 3: internal screen no bigger than 8" (likely to remain 7.6"), 120Hz LTPO display with S Pen stylus support, 4"-5" external screen, September launch.
  • Galaxy Z Flip 2: 6.7" internal, 3" external display, September launch.

One thing immediately comes into focus - the size difference of the external displays. The large 6"+ panel of the Z Fold 2 will give way to a smaller window to the world, as Samsung is striving to make its foldable phones thinner and lighter. Also, what's the point of having a big-screen foldable phone if you are mainly using the external screen anyway?

The Z Flip 2, on the other hand, is going into the opposite direction. After taking flack from users for the puny 1" outside screen of the clamshell, Samsung is now preparing to slap a more useful 3" ticker on the outside. As far as specs go, we can reasonably expect Snapdragon 888 processors, integrated 5G connectivity, improved cameras, plenty of storage, and decent battery sizes.

Bi-folding Galaxy Z-series phones are in Samsung's pipeline

We recently spotted some interesting new transparent, rollable, and foldable phone designs that Samsung Display posted in a series on its own blog, but chalked those off as wishful thinking of the designer team. 

The observant folks from LetsGoDigital, however, dug up some US patent filings of Samsung that correspond to what the company depicted in its display blog posts, indicating that tri-folding designs for the Galaxy Z series phones is not out of the question going forward. 

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There, both the vertical Fold and horizontal Flip concepts are patented with two hinges, and there is now even a render of how a supposed bi-folding Galaxy Z Flip model would look like.  

Given that the Z line now spreads in the $1500-$2000 price range, while the Z Fold Lite may finally bring Samsung's foldables pricing down to their rigid brethren of the S21 series, a new form factor introduction could be a way for Samsung to keep the average selling price of the series high. After all, it has already mastered the hard parts - a durable hinge and ultrathin glass display cover. 

A wow factor or two when you unfurl your foldable into even bigger screens than what we have now, or fold them into something even more compact, would go a long way into convincing people a new trend is born. 

Coupled with Samsung's push to make bendy phones thinner and lighter, their bi- or even tri-fold designs could have a bright future, and Samsung seems bent on capitalizing upon it, what do you think?

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