I’ve lived happily in the Apple ecosystem for over a decade, but as a tech enthusiast, I’m always curious about what’s going on in the larger mobile world. So I’ve been keeping an eye on what Samsung, Google, and other Android phone makers are doing. Every once in a while, something comes up that piques my interest enough that I get the idea to switch platforms and see how the other person lives.
That was the case with this week’s Galaxy Unpacked event. With the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Z Flip 4, Samsung is proving more than ever that foldable smartphones are ready for prime time. Both of Samsung’s new Z-series phones stand out in their own way, with features that Apple hasn’t chosen to match.
is enough to make me change sides? Maybe not, but Samsung’s latest version makes things more enticing than ever.
My long history with the iPhone
Since 2007 I’ve been an iPhone user since the first model came out in 2010, but before that I’ve used pretty much every other smartphone platform available. My first foray into the hybrid PDA and cell phone world (they didn’t call them “smartphones” at the time) was with Qualcomm’s pdQ-1900—a bulky product that combined Palm III and CDMA smartphone functionality. When the iPhone arrived, I was holding the Nokia E90 Communicator—one of the first predecessors of today’s foldable smartphones. When I saw Steve Jobs launch the iPhone in January 2007, I was very skeptical of the platform. From the touchscreen keyboard to the lack of third-party app support, this seems like an odd and restrictive device. However, when I finally got one a few months later, I was quickly conquered. I haven’t looked back since then. Over the years, I’ve played with a variety of Android phones, from the original Nexus One in 2010 to the Google Pixel 6 I still have to research and test. There are things I’ve always liked about Android, and in the early days, it was clear that both Apple and Google could learn a lot from each other. However, while these devices were fun, none of them were enough to convince me to ditch any iPhone I was using at the time.
As technology develops, this becomes less tempting. A rectangular sheet of glass and plastic is pretty much the same as any other sheet these days. Phone makers mainly compete by outpacing each other in areas like camera specs and screen quality, but for most of us, we’ve already crossed enough thresholds in those areas. When it comes to iPhone and other products, the operating system and applications are the most notable differences. There are inevitably trade-offs between Android and iOS, but these days, one is not inherently better than the other; they’re just different, and each has its own advantages and limitations.
Why Z Fold 4 is so tempting to me
Hardware and software work closely together, though, and that’s where I think Samsung’s latest foldable phones stand out the most — especially the Galaxy Z Fold 4. It’s not just about having a foldable phone. After all, folding smartphones isn’t an entirely new idea. It’s developing the underlying software to take full advantage of the phone’s capabilities, and that’s what Samsung has focused on this year. In fact, the Z Fold 4’s hardware isn’t too different from last year’s model, but software improvements make the phone a whole new game.