Foldable smartphones: why the Flip format does not flop

Oppo will launch its foldable clamshell smartphone, the Find N2 Flip in France. On the other hand, the Find N2, it is still not planned in Europe. This strategic choice can be explained in several ways.

Oppo Find N2 and Find N2 Flip // Source: Oppo

Oppo hits hard at the end of the year with two new foldable smartphones. But while we were mostly eyeing the Oppo Find N2 (which we took over)it’s rather the Oppo Find N2 Flip which will be available in France in the course of the first quarter of 2022. Instead of the folding phone in book format, it is therefore the clamshell model which will be launched first outside China and in particular in Europe.

Foldable smartphones with sauce Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 are however often considered as the spearheads of this particular sector of the mobile market. Some explanations were therefore necessary to justify this strategic choice of Oppo with the Find N2 Flip.

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Simply sell smartphones

A spokesperson for Oppo France was able to answer this question. “When we look at the foldable smartphone market, we can see that the Flip formats really represent the biggest sales volume.“, he explains. It does not give any official figures, but makes it clear that an Oppo Find N2 Flip is much more likely to register a large number of sales in Europe compared to an Oppo Find N2.

When we talk about the foldable smartphone market, we obviously look at Samsung, which claimed 62% of the market share in the world in the first half of 2022, according to Counterpoint Research. However, this dynamic is particularly driven by clamshell formats. TM Roh, President and CEO of Samsung’s Mobile Division, explained in a blog post published in July that “last year, 70% of folding Galaxy users switched to the Flip“. The Galaxy Z Flip 4 has also started very well.

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The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Z Flip 4 // Source: Robin Wycke – Frandroid

In summary, if Oppo is particularly proud of its Find N2, it takes less risk with the Find N2 Flip. Moreover, the prices, although still high, are much more competitive on the clamshell formats than on the book formats.

Advancing on familiar ground

Flip foldable smartphones also have another strength: they allow you to stay in a comfort zone. This is true for both manufacturers and users. For brands, this clamshell format represents a much easier challenge to grasp in terms of software. The unfolded smartphone looks like any phone and you only have to think of a few options for the external screen or the Flex mode in order to innovate a bit and have some selling points.

1671180983 24 Foldable smartphones why the Flip format does not flop
Oppo Find N2 Flip // Source: Oppo

On a book format, like the Find N2 or the Galaxy Z Fold 4, there are more elements to take into account, if only to correctly display the applications on the large internal screen acting as a tablet. Oppo also explains that this is one of the reasons why the Find N2 is not planned for Europe. Software optimizations for the big screen are not yet satisfactory enough to offer a good experience to Western users.

An interesting argument, but which leaves a little perplexed when we see that Samsung is doing quite well on its Fold. The Oppo Find N2 has a very square screen, however, which may not make developers’ jobs any easier.

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Oppo Find N2 // Source: Arnaud Gelineau – Frandroid

On the user side, the Flip format is the one that comes closest to a classic smartphone. It is therefore probably easier to adopt it. Moreover, a Samsung official explained to us at the IFA how much the care given to the design of these models was essential. Finally, as an additional argument, we could also evoke the nostalgia of flip phones.

Towards lower prices?

Generally, a competitive market leads to lower prices. Seeing Oppo launch its Find N2 Flip in France is therefore something to please consumer wallets. Alas, this enthusiasm must be nuanced. The Chinese giant assumes that it does not want to cut market prices. The brand wants to bet on the added value it brings to its products and thus explicitly suggests that, at least on its first generation of clamshell smartphone, it will come face to face with Samsung on a very similar price segment.

Let’s stay optimistic. In a few years, we could observe a drop in prices, but this is coming later than expected.

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Foldable smartphones: why the Flip format does not flop

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