Samsung has finally confirmed that its next Unpacked event will take place on August 11, at 10 AM EST. This is the date that had been pegged by leakers for several weeks now, so it doesn’t come as a huge surprise, but it’s nice to get official confirmation.
With a date finalized, it’s about time we round up the devices we expect to see at the launch. The rumor mill has been working its magic so far, so we seem to have a solid idea of what we’ll be seeing next month — unless Samsung has some major surprise in store. The invite even teases two of the biggest likely announcements, including…
Galaxy Z Fold 3
Samsung has been pushing this whole folding phone thing hard, and the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is the company’s new power-user flagship. It’s expected to be a refinement of the original Fold’s concept without major changes to the form factor.
The biggest change aside from the expected spec bump is that the Z Fold 3 will support the S-Pen (which the original Fold did, but the Fold 2 did not). Hopefully this means Samsung has also continued to improve the durability of the display, such that it doesn’t get blemished by frequent use of the S-Pen. Rumors suggest Samsung will be using the strongest panel on a folding phone yet, so there’s hope.
Those specs, by the way, are expected to be the usual fare for a 2021 flagship phone: a Snapdragon 888, 12 GB of RAM, and 256GB/512GB of internal storage. It’ll also reportedly generate less heat than the Galaxy S21, which should help with its gaming chops (something you might actually enjoy doing on a display larger than the Switch OLED).
On the other hand, the device may not make big leaps in camera quality. One rumor suggests the rear camera hardware will be largely unchanged from the Z Fold 2.
That’s still pretty solid hardware, mind you, and Samsung could always improve things in software, but you might not want to get your hopes up for state-of-the-art performance here. On the other hand, it may also be the first Samsung phone with an under-display front-facing camera.
Lastly, the device may be IPX8 water-resistant; previous folds have not been officially rated against water ingress, leading to concerns over long-term durability. And, to whet your appetite, here’s a little video of the device from trusted leaker Evan Blass:
Galaxy Z Flip 3
Unsurprisingly, we’re expecting many of the same improvements to apply to the Galaxy Z Flip 3. It’s expected to be a little less premium than the Z Fold 3, but may also come with a more durable screen, improved thermals, S-Pen support, and new water resistance.
The device is also reported to come with a slightly larger exterior display, as can be seen from another @evleaks clip:
It’s not clear what the specs will be, but it’s possible Samsung may opt for a more upper-midrange spec sheet because…
Samsung will make its foldables cheaper
Rumors are suggesting that Samsung is looking to make its folding phones more affordable.
Aside from durability, the biggest barrier to the adoption of folding phones is by far their price; prior models of the Galaxy Fold have sold for about $2,000, for instance. Very few people are willing to pay that much for a phone in this day and age.
Instead, there are some rumors that the new devices could be significantly cheaper than their predecessors, if not exactly “affordable.” The devices may be up to 20% cheaper, which could see the Z Fold 3 drop down to a price of about $1,600-1800, and the Z Flip 3 down to around $1000-$1100. The latter, at least, may be close to the price of a non-foldable flagship.
Galaxy Watch 4
It’s practically a given that Samsung will reveal its next smartwatch at the event, as the company already noted it was coming. This one is particularly momentous as it marks the first of the new batch of Wear OS devices, created in collaboration with Google; it’ll be the first Galaxy Watch to not run on Samsung’s custom Tizen OS.
Samsung has contributed some optimizations to Wear OS that should help it have decent battery life and more efficient performance. That said, according to Samsung the OS will still have some aesthetic tweaks along the lines of the company’s OneUI philosophy.
Not only does it mark the future for Samsung’s smartwatches, but Android wearables in general. Hopefully Android will finally get proper competition to the Apple Watch.
It’s also expected to come in an ‘Active’ version, by the way, for you sporty folks.
Galaxy Buds 2
Samsung is contributing to the overcrowded wireless headphone market with yet another pair of true wireless earbuds.
We don’t know much about these yet other than the fact that they’ll probably come with noise-canceling at a relatively affordable price, but hopefully, they’ll maintain the excellent sound quality of previous Galaxy Buds, while implementing better usability.
No Galaxy Note
The Galaxy Note has been canceled. For at least a little while, anyway.
While this is normally the time of year Samsung would announce the next Note, the company has already hinted that it’s dropped the iconic phone line to focus on folding phones instead. Rumors have been saying this for a while, and the global chip shortage probably isn’t helping.
While the phone line may make a return at some point — especially if the whole folding phone thing doesn’t pan out — for now, Samsung appears to be trying its darndest to get you to buy a folding phone.
Those are the biggest bits of news we’re expecting from the event, but a lot could change between now and August 11. We’ll keep you updated as the rumor mill keeps churning.
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