Samsung’s Galaxy Fold is the first foldable phone from a major smartphone maker. Thus, Samsung and the smartphone industry as a whole have big expectations for it. However, initial reviews of the devices are discouraging, with many reporting display issues with the Galaxy Fold. However, Samsung has assured users that it will “thoroughly inspect” the broken units.
Display issues with Galaxy Fold
Samsung sent review units to tech journalists this week, and some reported display issues with the Galaxy Fold. The issue was mainly with the screen, which a few journalists said broke down. For instance, The Verge claims that its review unit initially developed a bulge which ultimately broke the screen.
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— Steve Kovach (@stevekovach) April 17, 2019
Following such reports, Samsung was quick to release a statement. The company said it will “thoroughly inspect [the review] units in person,” meaing the devices with screens that broke for no apparent reason.
“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,” Samsung said.
Samsung also talked about display issues with the Galaxy Fold that were caused when reviewers pulled off a protective plastic layer glued to the screen. The protective plastic looked like extra protection that should be removed before use, but Samsung says otherwise.
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
Samsung says the Galaxy Fold has a top protective layer which is part of the display structure. Further, the company says this layer protects the screen from “unintended scratches” and that removing it or “adding adhesives to the main display may cause damage. We will ensure this information is clearly delivered to our customers.”
Answers needed from Samsung
Samsung has reportedly replaced many of the broken review units. Now it will be interesting to see if the display issues with the Galaxy Fold reappear in the replacement units or not, especially now that reviewers now know they should not peel off the protective layer. On the other hand, Samsung still has yet to come up with an explanation for the devices which broke even though their protective layer wasn’t stripped off. The Verge believes “a piece of debris got lodged under the folding display and damaged the OLED panel.”
The company revealed previously that it conducted rigorous tests on the Galaxy Fold’s display, including folding and unfolding the screen 200,000 times. However, the recent issues raise questions about real-world use of Samsung’s foldable phone.
If we leave aside these issues, Samsung’s ultra-premium foldable phone priced at $1,980 has been extremely popular among potential buyers. Samsung opened preorders for the device last week, but it quickly ran out of its initial inventory.
Samsung must address the issues quickly
Samsung will have to sort out the issues with the Galaxy Fold really quickly because the device will soon start reaching the general public. It seems the company is in no mood to postpone the launch either. Samsung confirmed to The Verge that it is still committed to the Apr. 26 launch date in the U.S.
Samsung just can’t afford another failure. The company aims to regain its hold on the smartphone market with this high-profile folding phone. However, if the Galaxy Fold fails, it will not just be a blow to Samsung but to the entire foldable phone market. Buyers could lose their trust in such a form factor if a company as big as Samsung fails to deliver a durable foldable phone.
On the other hand, Samsung has already experienced a serious disaster. The Galaxy Note 7 was the worst disaster for the company so far. Samsung had to recall millions of units and even cancel production due to exploding batteries. Even today, travelers can’t take a Note 7 on a commercial airplane.
Samsung’s shares dropped more than 3% on Thursday after the reports about the display issues with Galaxy Fold. Aside from the display issues, the stock’s drop can also be attributed to Apple and Qualcomm settling their long-standing dispute. With their deal, Samsung may lose importance when it comes to the next-generation 5G wireless standard.
Previously, it was believed that a 5G iPhone could be delayed due to the dispute between Qualcomm and Apple because the former is the top supplier of 5G chips. Now the settlement opens up the possibility of Apple launching a 5G iPhone sooner than expected. Currently Samsung leads the 5G race with its Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Fold.