Samsung Galaxy Fold's biggest competition will be microeconomics

With the subscription economy already taxing our budgets will the Galaxy Fold, which starts at $66 a month for 30 months, be able to take wallet share?

Samsung aims to popularize the foldable screen, but what will we do with it? Samsung has teased the future of smartphones "unfolding," but while the technology is interesting it's unclear whether the company can give us real use cases that'll make us want to part with our cash.

Samsung's Galaxy Fold will be available April 26 and the first look reviews are generally positive. Samsung has a superpremium concept device that will certainly garner attention.

And then you do the math, look at your wallet and decide that the Fold better be able to teleport you somewhere.

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Sure, CNET's Jessica Dolcourt is impressed with the Galaxy Fold. Other first looks were also favorable.

Meanwhile, carriers are announcing availability. T-Mobile notes it's time to go big on the Fold and touts a bundle and perks, but doesn't talk price or financing.

AT&T also does its play on words, touts the Fold and outlines all the reasons you should buy. Here's what caught my eye:

On AT&T Next over 30 months, consumers can buy the Samsung Galaxy Fold for $66 per month when you have eligible service.

Now you're paying off the Fold over 2.5 years?!? And you're paying that installment plan for the device that's the low-end Fold. The $66 a month plan is the staring price for the Fold, which has 4G. The 5G Fold's price is unknown, but safe to say it's higher.

Also: 

At $2,500, the Fold would run you $83. Soon just the financing on a superpremium phone is going to hit $100 a month.

Let's get the obvious out of the way. No corporation is going to pay for a Galaxy Fold unless you're in the C-suite and even then it's a stretch.

What about consumers looking for bragging rights? Perhaps, but I'd argue we're at an inflection point with the subscription economy. Essentially, smartphones have become a subscription in practice although technically the buying model is more installment plan.

But $66 a month for the phone is still a decent chunk of change considering the following:

  • Chances are you're an Amazon Prime subscriber.
  • Chances are you're paying for backup storage and photos somewhere.
  • Chances are you have a streaming music service, possibly two of them.
  • Chances are you have at least one standalone streaming TV service and you're pondering more as media giants launch alleged Netflix killers.
  • Chances are you still are paying cable companies for broadband.
  • And chances are wireless companies are taking more of your money.

At some point, there's a breaking point and the reality is that all of these monthly payments start competing with each other. Subscription purges are going mainstream.

The Galaxy Fold is an impressive device for sure and I'll be looking forward to checking one out. But the reality is that the price of the Fold is starting to compete with the price of a decent vacation for one person. I'll take the vacation and get a cheaper phone.  

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