The Galaxy Fold is one of the most anticipated smartphones of this year. It’s the world’s first foldable smartphone. The device was supposed to go on sale in the US in April, and a month later in South Korea. But when Samsung sent out the phone to reviewers, they encountered a bunch of Galaxy Fold issues. As a result, Samsung chose to delay the launch of its $2,000 phone and fix the problems that plagued the review units.
Uncertainty over the Galaxy Fold launch date
Speaking at a conference in Seoul, Samsung Display Vice-President Kim Seong-cheol told the audience that “most of the display problems have been ironed out.” He added that the foldable phone was “ready to hit the market.” Seong-cheol doesn’t work at Samsung Electronics. He is an executive at Samsung Display, which makes the foldable screen for the Galaxy Fold.
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What’s interesting here is that the executive says “most” of the issues have been resolved, not all. Kim Seong-cheol is working closely with the Galaxy Fold team to fix the problems. He did not specify when the device would go on sale. Neither consumers nor Samsung would want any Galaxy Fold issues when it hits the store shelves. The Korean company would go the extra mile to avoid another fiasco after the Galaxy Note 7 debacle.
There is no clear release date for the Galaxy Fold yet. When Samsung announced in April its decision to delay the Galaxy Fold release, it said “more specific shipping information” would be shared in “two weeks.” Samsung’s mobile business head DJ Koh said last month that the company would reveal the new launch date “in a couple of days.”
It’s been more than a month since his statement, and consumers are still waiting for the Fold launch. Recently, a Samsung employee told media that no progress had been made on the device since the April delay. That, if true, is quite shocking.
Supply chain reports have claimed that the Korean company was planning to launch the Galaxy Fold in July this year. According to the Korea Herald, the Fold could launch after July. Whenever the foldable phone comes out, Kim Seong-cheol is confident that it “will receive a lot of attention in the market.”
If the company pushes the Galaxy Fold launch beyond July, it might as well launch the device with the upcoming Galaxy Note 10, which is expected to launch in August. But it makes more sense for Samsung to launch the Fold before Galaxy Note 10. The Korean company wouldn’t want the Fold to steal the limelight away from the Note 10.
What Galaxy Fold issues did the reviewers encounter?
Tech reviewers who got the Galaxy Fold to try out experienced a couple of display-related issues. A protective layer on top of the flexible display looked like a regular screen protector. Many reviewers accidentally removed the protective layer, thinking it was a screen protector. It caused irreparable damage to the screen.
Some reviewers who did not remove the protective layer complained that the screen would flicker and then unexpectedly stop working. Repeatedly folding and unfolding the device caused creases in the middle of the foldable screen. Many others noticed a gap between the protective layer and the screen bezels, allowing dust particles to reach the fragile display.
The Galaxy Fold has a 4.6-inch external display to give you quick access to apps and notifications. Unfolding the device brings up a 7.3-inch tablet-like screen with a display notch. Samsung claims the device has been tested to withstand at least 200,000 folding cycles without any damage. It packs 12GB RAM, 512GB of internal storage, and runs Qualcomm’s top of the line Snapdragon 855 processor.
Amid uncertainty over its release date, Best Buy has already canceled all the Galaxy Fold pre-orders. Recently, AT&T announced that it had also canceled pre-orders for the foldable phone despite a statement from Samsung that the phone’s new release date would be shared in a few weeks. The telecom carrier is also giving the affected customers a $100 promotion card. Customers will be able to place another order when Samsung announces the new release date.
Samsung’s rival Huawei has also decided to hold off on the release of its foldable Mate X smartphone. The Chinese company has said that carrier testing and network certification are delaying the Mate X launch. But it’s possible that Huawei is taking a more cautious approach after what happened to the Galaxy Fold.
Motorola, Apple, and other vendors are also said to be working on foldable smartphones. Apple’s foldable iPhone is still a few years away, though the company holds numerous patents related to the folding display technology. The 5G connectivity and folding screens are expected to drive growth as the smartphone market has become saturated.