The first batch of expensive, new foldable phones with hi-tech displays will not hit the shelves for another two months.
But Chinese e-commerce retailer Suning.com has been quick off the mark, and already has a 399 yuan (US$60) insurance policy available on its platform to cover any technical failure on the new phones, which cost an eye-watering US$2,000.
Customers who pay 399 yuan for the insurance policy after buying a foldable phone from Suning will enjoy an extended two-year warranty on the folding screen if the display breaks or cracks due to everyday usage, Suning Mobile said on its official Sina Weibo account on Tuesday morning.
Just months after Apple’s lacklustre iPhone sales in China were blamed on their thousand-dollar price tags, Huawei Technologies smashed the record with its 5G-ready foldable Mate X model retailing at 2,299 euros (US$2,600), while Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy Fold will start from US$1,980.
Smartphone vendors are offering models that are now powerful and big enough to challenge personal computers in functionality, with foldable phones being touted as a laptop alternative and with a price tag to match. The first of these new premium offerings, unveiled at this week’s MWC Barcelona trade show, will begin sales from the end of April.
Spending 10,000 or 20,000 yuan on the latest folding screen mobile phones is quite a financial commitment but demonstrates the belief and desire of many consumers to push the boundaries of smartphone innovation, said Gu Wei, vice-president of Suning.com
“Suning Mobile is willing to protect this belief [by introducing insurance],” Gu said in a post on his official Sina Weibo account.
Unlike earlier generations of flip phones or folding phones such as the Nokia Communicator, the new generation of foldable phones can fold like a wallet and fold out on a long edge into something like a mini-tablet. Royole, a Chinese technology unicorn that makes the world’s thinnest full-colour flexible display, unveiled a foldable smartphone in November called “FlexPai” with a top-end model retailing for 12,999 yuan.
Samsung says that it has designed a “sophisticated hinge system” hidden from view which can withstand the wear-and-tear of more than 100,000 folds, according to a Fortune report on February 20, citing Samsung senior vice-president of product marketing Justin Denison. More