The Galaxy Fold has been delayed, as Samsung confirmed the $2000 foldable phone won’t ship as per schedule. The company said it’s delaying the release of its Galaxy Fold due to reports the foldable phone is breaking for some reviewers.
Samsung had been planning to launch the phone on April 26 in the US, but the global rollout is now expected in the “coming weeks”. The delay is seen as a major setback for Samsung and for the smartphone industry, which needs a breakthrough device.
But why is Samsung delaying the release of its most ambitious smartphone before the rollout? Here’s a brief recap.
Samsung teases a prototype foldable phone
The Galaxy Fold was announced as a concept device during the company’s annual developer conference, SDC, in November 2018. The idea was to showcase a prototype foldable phone that uses a foldable screen, dubbed the Infinity Flex. Although the product showcased was a mere prototype, Samsung did promise a release a finished device with the Infinity Flex display in 2019 with mass production expected to kick start in the “coming months”.
Samsung Galaxy Fold announced at Unpacked 2019
Samsung made the Galaxy Fold official at its Unpacked 2019 event on February 20 in San Francisco. The company gave an official name and announced the retail availability of the device. As promised, the device features a 4.6-inch display when closed and a 7.3-inch display when unfolded. Samsung said it’s using two batteries with a 4,380mAh capacity. Samsung also announced it worked with Google to allow three apps to run simultaneously when in tablet mode. During the launch event, Samsung said it will launch the Galaxy Fold in the US, starting at $1980.
Surprisingly, Samsung didn’t allow members of the media to touch the Galaxy Fold. Those who attended the Unpacked 2019 said the Galaxy Fold was not available for public viewing or handling. Several mainstream publications criticized Samsung for not allowing the media to try out the Galaxy Fold. This led many to believe that Samsung lacks confidence in the foldable phone concept in general.
Samsung Galaxy Fold review units started falling
Things started to take an ugly turn when four review units experienced screen failures. Journalists from Bloomberg, The Verge, CNBC and YouTuber MKBHD reported several different problems with the Galaxy Fold. Several issues were reported: flickering, broken screens and freezing on the review units within days of use. Some units broke because the reviewer removed a protective film which was supposed to stay on the device.
Samsung promised the Galaxy Fold can outlast 200,000 folds and unfolds, or around 5 years of use, if used 100 times daily.
The phone comes with this protective layer/film. Samsung says you are not supposed to remove it. I removed it, not knowing you’re not supposed to (consumers won’t know either). It appeared removable in the left corner, so I took it off. I believe this contributed to the problem. pic.twitter.com/fU646D2zpY
— Mark Gurman (@markgurman) April 17, 2019
— Todd Haselton (@robotodd) April 17, 2019
After several reviewers complained about how the review units broke within the first few days of use, Samsung responded by saying that the reports would not impact the launch date. The company said in a statement that only a limited number of review samples experienced issues.
“A limited number of early Galaxy Fold samples were provided to media for review. We have received a few reports regarding the main display on the samples provided. We will thoroughly inspect these units in person to determine the cause of the matter,” Samsung explained.
Samsung Galaxy Fold release postponed in China, Singapore
Despite Samsung’s assurance that the phone would launch on its schedule, it was reported that the company had delayed the launch of the Galaxy Fold in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Spain. The company had planned two launch events in China and Hong Kong, scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday.
In a matter of a few hours, reports started to surface about the cancellation of the Galaxy Fold in Singapore and Spain as well. In a statement to Channel News Asia, a Samsung spokesperson said:
“In light of the recent feedback on a limited number of Galaxy Fold media review units, Samsung is taking the time to ensure that the Galaxy Fold units are in optimum shape for your experience at the event.”
Samsung gave a similar confirmation to Spanish news outlet Hipertextual, saying that the phone’s launch in Spain will be delayed due to the same issue.
Samsung Galaxy Fold global rollout officially delayed
Following display issues reported by reviewers, Samsung will officially delay the rollout of the Galaxy Fold. The company says it has pushed back the launch date of the Fold from the original April 26.
“Initial findings from the inspection of reported issues on the display showed that they could be associated with impact on the top and bottom exposed areas of the hinge,” Samsung said in a statement. “There was also an instance where substances found inside the device affected the display performance.”
Samsung said it will take measures to strengthen the display protection and will find ways to educate and guide its customers on the use of the display including the protective layer.
This wouldn’t be the first time Samsung has faced issues with the device that wasn’t ready for commercial use. Previously, it had to be recalled the Galaxy Note 7 due to reports of exploding batteries.