Woke up this morning feeling ill and completely drained. Not sure what hit me. Thankfully I’m starting to feel better this evening, but not pleased with how it derailed my day. Just means I have to hit the next three days even harder I guess.
Yesterday afternoon, as the wife and I were beginning to get ready to head out for an event, the news was on and a story came on about the new Samsung Galaxy Fold. It’s been a looooooong time since I dipped my toes into the Android ecosystem and when I had dipped my toe into it, it was never a Samsung phone. I don’t believe I’ve ever truly owned a Samsung phone. Wait, that’s not true. Samsung at one point introduced a phone called the Samsung Instinct. It was dubbed to be an equal match to the iPhone.
Spoiler Alert: It wasn’t
Obviously, phones have evolved many times over in the last 10+ years. They’ve gotten smaller and smaller, now bigger and bigger. They fold and flip and have fourteen cameras on it. That’s fine. My wife and I have an iPhone 8+ and we were intrigued by the new iPhones, but ultimately, we have decided to just hold onto our phones for the foreseeable future. The reality is there are very few new hardware features that warrant a new phone. They all come within the software these days and the minimal spec differences between new generations means that phones can keep upgrading the software for many years after new hardware has come out.
My wife was pleasantly surprised with the new tech and was surprised such a thing existed. Foldable technology like this has been creeping up on the masses for a while and even recently at CES there was a device announced that probably left many thinking that this technology was years away from being a reality.
Samsung quickly proved that wrong.
My issue is tied in with the price. To buy this phone it will easily cost someone $2000 for the phone. Now, how people spend their money these days is truly on them. If they decide they want to spend $2000 on a phone then so be it. Of course, it goes without saying that $2000 is more than enough for a solo trip to many corners of the world. If you have a significant other, than you have enough for a really nice trip somewhere. With that high of cost though, people will feel the need to use it to offset the cost of spending it. You’re not buying this phone to not use it constantly throughout the day. Samsung is anticipating people using it, packing in two massive batteries as well (though to power the multiple screens, you kind of have to). Samsung is counting on you using it for 7-12 hours a day easily.
That is the crux of my issue. We have companies speaking out of both sides of their mouths when it comes to mobile phone addiction. It’s a real thing. People are tied and tethered to their phones throughout the day and it’s becoming a serious issue. Apple and Google have introduced ways to help curtail the usage, hoping that the next generation isn’t tied to their phones more than the current generation is. The issue becomes if we are introducing new concepts like this, with a high price tag, are we really looking to solve this addiction or trying to paint a positive public image of helping people drop their phones and interact with people instead?
Silicon Valley knows this is an issue. They’ve known this is an issue for quite some time. Google is trying to fight this addiction with researchers. So is Samsung. Yet, this phone, with the price tag doesn’t seem to be truly supportive of that. There is plenty of technology out there that doesn’t exist to the masses because people know the impact it could have on people’s lives. Continuing to try and innovate on this level in a market that is as pervasive as cell phones should be considered on the same level when companies are considering where to invest their R&D dollars.
This is not a solution for Samsung. Not if they’re honest about their intentions to curb cell phone addiction.