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Samsung unveils new version of folding smartphone

By AFP - Aug 05,2020 - Last updated at Aug 05,2020

This photo, obtained on Wednesday courtesy of Samsung, shows the Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra (AFP photo)

SAN FRANCISCO — Samsung on Wednesday unveiled an upgraded version of its folding smartphone along with other devices aiming to jump-start sales in a market hit hard by the global pandemic.

The Galaxy Z Fold2 was one of several new devices announced at a livestreamed event by the South Korean electronics giant, which recently lost the top position in the smartphone market to China-based Huawei.

Samsung also unveiled two versions of its oversized smartphone, the Galaxy Note20 and Galaxy Note20 Ultra, upgraded tablets called Tab S7 and S7+, a new Galaxy Watch3 smartwatch and its ergonomic wireless earbuds called Galaxy Buds Live.

"Never before have we relied on technology like we are today. It's how we are staying connected as we navigate the extraordinary challenges faced around the world," said T.M. Roh, head of mobile communications at Samsung Electronics.

"Technology must make life easier, not more complex. That's why we have introduced five new power devices. Alone, these devices are powerful tools to help you maximise work and play."

Samsung in the second quarter saw smartphone sales slip 29 per cent compared with a year ago, according to research firm IDC, as the firm lost the top position to Huawei in a slumping global market.

Total smartphone sales were down 16 per cent in the quarter, as consumers pulled back in the face of a pandemic-induced economic crisis.

The upgraded folding device offers "the power and screen size of a tablet," with a cover screen of 15.7 centimetres and a main screen of 19.3 centimetres. Pricing and availability will be announced in September.

The Galaxy Note20 will be available later this month in the US starting at $999.99.

The launch follows the release of budget-priced smartphones from Apple and Google starting under $400 offering an alternative to the high-end devices.

Apple's flagship iPhone 12 is expected to launch later this year.

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