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Samsung’s $1,999 Fold 2 rectifies major foldable phone foibles

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SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS CO. will start taking pre-orders for its second tablet-style, foldable phone, the Galaxy Z Fold 2, on Wednesday ahead of wide availability on Sept. 18. Touting significant display and hinge upgrades, the company kept the price nearly unchanged at $1,999.

The most immediate improvement is the new foldable’s exterior screen, which now spans 6.2 inches and functions much more like a conventional smartphone. Internally, Samsung has slimmed the bezels around the 7.6-inch main display and covered it with ultra thin glass, the same material as used in its smaller Galaxy Z Flip handset, which has shown itself more resilient to scratches. The Android-powered Fold 2 also comes with fifth-generation, wireless networking and what Samsung claims are its best speakers in any Galaxy device to date.

The Galaxy Z Fold 2 maintains the luxury positioning that the $1,980 original established. Samsung is counting on its foldable phone lineup to set its long-term design path, and eventually contribute to profitability at a time when its mass-market flagships, S and Note series, are experiencing plateauing demand. In the second quarter, Chinese rival Huawei Technologies Co. took over the title of the world’s biggest smartphone maker from Samsung for the first time.

After going through a rocky start with the original Galaxy Fold last year, which included a release delay due to a design flaw, Samsung’s successor device embodies several lessons learned along the way. The plastic inner display is no more and the hinge has been re-engineered with a particular focus on keeping dust and dirt out. The Fold 2 can be opened and closed 200,000 times — more than 100 times per day for five years — without a problem, according to the company.

The Galaxy Z Fold 2 goes on sale on Sept. 18 in a choice of either Mystic Bronze or Mystic Black. Consumers ordering online will also get a choice of hinge color, from metallic gold, silver, red or blue. The 5G device will come with 256GB of storage and 12GB of RAM. Samsung will also sell a limited Thom Browne edition of the Fold 2 on Sept. 25. Bloomberg

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