I bought a $2,000 foldable phone — the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G. Well, I didn’t spend quite that much. The actual cost, including a case, was a little over $1,300 (before sales tax), after a $50 instant credit, trade-in of a Samsung S20+, and a military discount.
Those who have known me for a long time know that my interest in technology goes back to the 1960s. In the 1960s I was responsible for automating the city where I worked. Garbage and sewer billing, payroll, accounts payable, and general accounting were all handled by an IBM system. In the 1970s I personally purchased one of the first personal microcomputer systems. I opened computer stores on California’s Central Coast, in Pacific Grove and Aptos. The stores sold Altos, Kaypro, and Zenith systems. Some of our best customers were students from the Naval Postgraduate School and the Army’s Defense Language Institute, and we shipped computers overseas to military and State Department personnel. I did a lot of custom programming and worked closely with the Navy’s Personnel Research and Development Center (NPRDC) on research and programming projects, “…which were completed on time as a result of Mr. Pitt’s assistance, [and] will be provided to 40 United States Navy ships.” When I retired I started a small business that provided computer consulting services and web site development.
I eventually retired from that business and became interested in smartphones. I’m interested in Android systems because of the wide choice of hardware and the flexibility of the operating system. There has been a lot of progress in smartphones since the first one I bought — processors are faster, displays are larger and brighter, memory capacity has increased — but the basic design has remained pretty much the same. Almost all the phones are rectangular slabs, most of which have grown larger over the years. Last year, Samsung experimented with a foldable phone that, when unfolded, became a tablet. Samsung’s original Galaxy Fold had a number of problems, and Samsung had to redesign the device after review models broke in multiple ways. A year later the Galaxy Fold 2 is much improved. The outer screen is a 6.2” AMOLED display, and I’ve been amazed at how much I can do on that outer screen, even with my poor eyesight and fumbling fingers. When you open (unfold) the device, the inner screen is a beautiful 7.6 inch 120Hz AMOLED tablet. The Fold 2 has replaced my phone, my tablet, and my Kindle e-reader, and now everything has wifi and cellular connectivity (my tablet and Kindle were wifi only). Only one device to keep track of, one device to charge, and one device to carry with me. Yesterday I had to wait in the car while my wife had two hours of medical tests. During that time I had the device unfolded and I received several phone calls, read the news, watched videos, and read part of a book, all while connected to a 5G cellular service. I’ve been involved with technology for more than half a century, and I’ve seen a lot of innovation in that time. The Samsung Galaxy Fold 2 is truly innovative.