A key piece of news about the Samsung Galaxy Fold 2 surfaced this week: it might come with a stylus.
That might seem like a small addition, but it gives us a clearer picture of where the brand – and next product – is headed.
Samsung’s current Galaxy Fold, whilst technically very impressive, doesn’t really have a purpose. It’s very much a first generation product that debuts a new technological achievement – it’s something to be marvelled at rather than used.
But the Fold 2 looks like it will solve that issue by taking on a new moniker: the iPad challenger.
Key improvements in display size, which the Korean company apparently upped to 7.6-inches for the internal screen and 6.2-inches for the outer display, an improved display using Samsung’s new ultra thin glass, a new powerful processor and, of course, the stylus, could turn this into a serious iPad rival.
Let’s breakdown the key changes. Firstly, the stylus. Apple’s iPad – whichever model, but particular the Pro line – is popular amongst creatives for, well, creative work. Whether that’s creating and tweaking AR worlds on the latest iPad Pro or drawing and sketching with the Apple Pencil.
The key to the latter is how low the stylus latency is, which is the time between writing and the tablet registering your stroke on screen. The lower, the better.
The Apple Pencil when used on an iPad has a latency of about 9ms, whilst Samsung doesn’t release the latency time for the S Pen (I asked), it’s very responsive on the Note 10. Keeping it roughly in-line with Apple – or even improving it – will be a big part of the Fold’s success.
Targeting the device at creatives – Apple’s own target demographic – and delivering with a seamless drawing experience will be how Samsung profits from that success.
Then there’s the display size and the form of the device. Upping the internal screen to 7.6-inches will gives users more room to work their creative magic, but what will be key is the portability of the device.
Most Android phones can run the creative software available in the Play Store – Adobe Illustrator Draw, for example – but what’s important is how well they run and how good the display is. These are two areas Samsung phones typically excel at.
The Korean company would also do well to strike a partnership with a company – like Adobe – to bring S Pen specific features to its products. This isn’t out of the realms of possibility – Spotify collaborated with the Korean company on its latest wireless headphones, the Galaxy Buds+, by introducing new touch controls.
A customised version of an illustration app, which has more in-depth functionality and takes advantage of Samsung’s uniquely powerful hardware, would be popular with creatives.
Bringing all of this together is Samsung’s new ultra thin glass, which debuted on the Galaxy Flip. As the name suggests, it’s a wafer thin glass panel that’s capable of bending thousands of times. It’s also protected by a hard plastic layer (watch this video to see what happens when that layer is removed).
This adds a more premium experience to the device by partially mimicking the typical Gorilla Glass panel you’ll find on traditional smartphones. Using a stylus on a flexible plastic display simply doesn’t yield the same sort of feedback as a harder surface.
If Samsung can get the pricing right, then the next Galaxy Fold – and future iterations – will finally have a defined identity and potentially challenge the creative market dominance of Apple’s iPad.