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Samsung’s product roadmap leaked one month before Unpacked event

The news: Noted Twitter smartphone leaker Evan Blass spoiled Samsung’s Unpacked event by revealing upcoming products, per The Verge. The leak also provides a glimpse into Samsung’s mobile and wearables product roadmap and strategy for 2021.

Why it matters: Samsung is the leading smartphone manufacturer in the world and its market moves are closely watched and emulated by competitors. Blass’ leak reveals Samsung is continuing to pursue the unpopular foldable smartphone market with updated Galaxy Z Fold and Galaxy Z Flip products. The leak also reveals the first Android-powered smartwatches created in tandem with Google and Fitbit, and new noise-canceling earbuds. Samsung is trying to expand into new product segments that it can dominate as the smartphone market continues to plateau.

While Samsung’s often been accused of copying Apple, it does innovate in specific areas like screen technology and new form factors. The leak shows that Samsung is continuing to bet on foldables and wearables as it looks to develop areas where it can better differentiate itself from competitors.

The takeaway: A leak of this magnitude a month before the Unpacked event could trigger countermoves from competitors who now have a better grasp of Samsung’s product roadmap for new handsets and wearables.

  • Samsung’s persistence in foldables could pay off, especially if the company can manage to bring down pricing and improve build-quality. Interest in this segment has been lukewarm mostly due to the delicate build of the devices, as well as their high price and general lack of purpose.
  • While foldable phones presently make up a tiny fraction of the global smartphone market, foldable shipments are expected to surge from 0.5 million in 2019 to 18.3 million in 2022—and Samsung is the leading manufacturer in the mix.
  • Samsung is also the world’s third-largest smartwatch maker behind Apple and Huawei, per Counterpoint Research. The release of new models with Google and Fitbit’s involvement could help it gain market share.

Samsung likely has other products it can announce on August 11, and the leak did not reveal features, specs, or pricing. These details are important focal points for these new devices, especially in the smartphone camera department, an area in which Samsung has excelled in the past.