With just a few tidbits – your age, gender, social media activity level and how hybrid work has changed what you do with your phone – mobile phone makers can guess with surprising accuracy which new smartphone is calling your name.
Are you a flip or a fold? Take our quiz to find out
1 – How often do you post videos on TikTok?
B. What’s TikTok?
C. Don’t bother me, I’m posting a video of myself on TikTok
2 – When you see someone in a coffee shop videoconferencing for work, you think:
A. I can’t be late for my Teams meeting
3 – If you get an urgent work email while attending a weekend concert, you will:
A. Excuse yourself to respond
B. See it on Monday
4 – Complete this sentence. My phone:
A. Is an extension of me, with wallpaper and colors that reflect my personality
B. Is an extension of me because it is ready to tackle work and play wherever and whenever
5 – Your gender identity is _________
6 – Your generation is
A. Baby boomer
B. Gen X
D. Gen Z
Now tally up how many A, B, C, or D answers you had. Which letter did you choose the most? The answer may hold a surprising clue as to what phone is right for you.
OK, so maybe this six-question, are you a flip or a fold survey doesn’t ignite the same sizzle as a dream-partner glossy magazine quiz. But as the market leader from the start – as well as the first smartphone maker to offer both foldable types – Samsung is arguably in the best position to understand who’s buying what.
And now, as rumors swirl of a foldable iPhone under development, Samsung is kicking off the foldable market’s fourth year with the Galaxy Z Flip4 and the Galaxy Z Fold4, the latest models refined for what the company has gleaned about each segment’s wants and needs.
Which is what exactly?
Given what Samsung has seen thus far in the market, the smartphone maker expects the Flip4 – the follow-up to the Galaxy Z Flip3, the bestselling foldable yet – will most commonly appeal to someone who identifies as female, Gen Z, or a young millennial and active – like, really active – on social media.
The Fold4, on the other hand, more likely will catch the eye of someone who identifies as male, solidly millennial and turning to their smartphone to tackle impromptu work tasks at unexpected places and times.
But the market didn’t always behave this way.
A little history of the foldable phone
At its inception in 2019, the foldable market was defined by a wave of large-format smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy Fold.
The devices unfurled into small tablets to enhance everything from reading and watching videos to light work tasks. Months later, once the pandemic started, innovative split-screen activities that proved useful in work-from-anywhere-but-work scenarios, like videoconferencing and document review, exploded on the new foldable devices.
A short time later, flip smartphones – that is, full-sized devices like the original Samsung Galaxy Z Flip that folded feature-phone style into compact mirror-shaped packages – splintered the market by creating a second broad category.
Inaugural foldables like the Flip and Fold were snapped up by early adopters, an overwhelmingly male bunch of tech aficionados willing to spend more to get their hands on the latest innovations.
Indeed, the hefty price of early foldables – the first Fold started at $2,000 and the Flip $1,400 – kept all but the most tech-obsessed consumers away.
Over time, though, Samsung said that buyer preferences for the two classes of devices really started to become evident. And the trend kicked into high gear last year, as the devices began their mainstream push in earnest.
Lower prices helped that along. The Flip3 and Fold3 started at $1,000 and $1,700, respectively. Starting prices for the Flip4 and Fold4 are unchanged from the previous generation.
Aside from price, a few things are helping to drive the highly social, under-Millennial female crowd toward the Flip: bold design, the trend toward personalization and hands-free video for short social media posts.
“Short-form video with all the social media apps is really big among Gen Z,” Peter Park, foldable smartphone product manager at Samsung Electronics America, told me. “And that really seems to resonate with Flip buyers.”
Personalization? Or productivity?
Of course, the Fold can leverage its hinge to act as its own tabletop tripod just as well as the Flip can. But Fold buyers haven’t been nearly so interested in buying brightly-colored foldables to capture their TikTok dances.
So if you want a purple, gold, or blue foldable, you’ll need to buy a Flip4. Samsung is only offering the Fold4 in the more subdued black, gray/green and beige options.
Samsung is still learning what foldable customers want. Last year, for example, the company only offered expanded memory options on the black Flip3 – and learned the hard way that the TikTok crowd prefers beefy configurations on their brightly-colored foldables. So the company rectified that with the Flip4.
“Now you don’t have to choose between getting a high memory device and a color you want,” Park said.
And for the Fold4, Samsung doubled down on PC-like productivity features – like, for example, the ability to copy and paste between split-screen Microsoft Office applications and Teams video meetings.
Here's the big picture on foldable phones
Of course, the lines between the two foldable personalities aren’t quite so hard and fast. As the appeal for foldables has broadened, for example, the male-female ratio for the Fold-series has trended more toward 60–40, much like Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S-series smartphones. For the Flip-series, the ratio is reversed, Samsung says.
Regardless, there is an undeniable trend in which foldable type attracts whom. Samsung’s business sales are more prevalent for the Fold-series, while the Flip-series is more often purchased through consumer channels.
So maybe the flip-or-fold survey may not be as compelling as a magazine quiz. But I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out to be more precise.
USA TODAY columnist Mike Feibus is president and principal analyst of FeibusTech, a Scottsdale, Arizona, market research and consulting firm. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MikeFeibus.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: New Samsung Galaxy Fold4 or Flip4? What your response says about you.