“Enjoy the luxury lifestyle, break into the aristocratic life,” is the mantra Samsung is using to sell its latest flagship, and nothing screams blue-blood quite like a flip phone.

No, it’s not 2003, but Samsung did release a clamshell smart-flip-phone called the Samsung G9198 on Friday, complete with a 3.9-inch dual screen 768p touch display, powered by Snapdragon 808.

While it may seem like a strange move in China, a market defined by incredibly cheap smartphones, Samsung isn’t the only player who seems to think there’s potential in a high-end clamshell. Just two weeks ago LG released a single-screen flip phone, the LG ‘Gentle’ with a physical keypad along with a touch sensitive display. It’s powered by Android 5.1 Lollipop and retails for over $170 USD.

The Samsung G9198 – while not exactly “aristocratic” – packs a punch for its size, and is definitely a significant upgrade on the previous model G9098. It comes with 2 GB of RAM, 1.8GHz hexa-core processor, 16 GB internal storage capacity and dual cameras (16-megapixel f/1.9 forward facing and a 5-megapixel f/1.9 selfie camera) with LED flash. It also has a heart rate monitor and supports dual-SIM along with a microSD card slot.

But if you’re looking to tap into “the luxury lifestyle” from outside of China, you’ll be disappointed. For now, the G9198 appears to only be on sale in the Chinese store. Since it seems to be a Middle Kingdom exclusive, it won’t support Google services, and from the images available it appears to be run on a modified Android system.

It’s not unusual to see the occasional flip phone on the streets of China, though with Xiaomi and Apple fighting for domination of the 20-35 age range, it’s likely these clamshells are targeted at the older generations. Samsung hasn’t yet released a price point for the G9198 flagship.


Image Credit: Samsung China

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Cate Cadell

Cate is a tech writer. She worked as a journalist in Australia, Mongolia and Myanmar. You can reach her (in Chinese or English) at: @catecadell or catecadell@technode.com

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