Samsung made quite a splash during its Unpacked event last week. The company announced its line of Galaxy S10 phones, including the Galaxy S10+ that boasts up to 12GB of RAM and 1TB of storage, and also lifted the wraps on its foldable Galaxy Fold handset. That latter one pushes smartphone pricing close to two grand and could be marketed as a luxury handset in limited supply.
Credit goes to Samsung for knowing a thing or two about marketing. All of those pre-launch leaks and rumors were likely not by accident, and instead were intended to drum up excitement. And as we have seen in numerous ad campaigns, particularly those that poke fun at Apple, Samsung is as much a pitchman as it is an electronics maker.
As it pertains to the Galaxy Fold, Samsung told The Verge in an interview that it is planning to hold a separate press event for the folding handset in early April. At that time, Samsung will provide a closer look at the Galaxy Fold before it goes on sale April 26 for $1,980. To go along with that price, Samsung hinted at it being a high-end luxury launch.
"We’ll have less supply than we would of the S10 at launch, and also how it goes to market is really important to us," said Kate Beaumont, director of product, services, and commercial strategy at Samsung UK. "This is a super premium device, and we want to make sure it has a concierge-like service and experience, so it’s not going to be on display in all stores. You’re not going to see it on the stands, we want to make sure it’s a very personal experience. There will be quite intensive aftercare that goes with it as well."
This is a smart move on Samsung's part for a number of reasons. Due to its exceptionally high price tag, the Galaxy Fold may struggle to find a large audience. In that regard, it makes sense to target wealthier individuals with a luxury pitch, as opposed to simply a high-end phone that folds.
Samsung also can sidestep criticism over low sales by limiting production. To pick a figure out of the wind, let's say Samsung only sells 10,000 of these devices. That is not a lot in the grand scheme of things, but if it only produces 10,000 units to begin with, Samsung can claim to have sold out its inventory.
Limiting supply can also boost demand. Whether true or not, Nintendo was accused early on of limiting supply of its Switch console, and also its NES Classic and SNES Classic systems, all of which were difficult to find in stock when they first came out. This plays into a marketing strategy known as FOMO, or Fear Of Missing Out.
Marketing aside, the Galaxy Fold is a premium phone with a main 7.3-inch QXGA+ Dynamic OLED screen (4.2:3 aspect ratio) and 4.6-inch HD Super AMOLED cover display (21:9 aspect ratio), powered by a Snapdragon 855 processor and 12GB of LPDDR4 memory. It also wields 512GB of onboard storage, six cameras, and a dual battery system.