I guess it’s true what Kenny Rogers said: You gotta know when to fold ‘em. After announcing over the weekend that it was delaying Galaxy Fold launch events in Hong Kong and Shanghai this week, the electronics giant has now also reportedly pushed back the U.S. release date of its next-generation handset following a flurry of poor reviews and problems with the device, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
The Fold was originally slated to start shipping this Friday, April 26. The $1,980 handset is Samsung’s first to feature a flexible OLED screen, and it was lauded as the future of mobile devices, with the ability to shrink a 7.3-inch tablet down to a pocketable phone.
However, what was supposed to be a celebratory launch of the world’s first mass-produced folding phone has turned into something of a disaster for Samsung. Many of the early review units sent out have exhibited issues that rendered the device compromised or inoperable after just a day or two of use.
For example, Dieter Bohn from the Verge experienced a “small bulge” in the centre of the screen after what he suspects was a “piece of debris” that got into the hinge. Steve Kovach of CNBC experienced a flashing and flickering screen that completely overtook his device. Mark Gurnam of Bloomberg, YouTuber Marques Brownlee, and Wall Street Journal reporter Joanna Stern all experienced issues after inadvertently peeling off the protective layer that Samsung now says shouldn’t be removed.
The Journal reports that the Galaxy Fold will be delayed until “at least next month” while Samsung investigates the issue. Pre-orders for the device went live last week and quickly sold out, though it’s not clear how many devices were available for purchase. Also unknown is how many of those orders were cancelled after problems began to arise.
Why this matters: The upcoming folding phone revolution may be over before it even begins. Along with 5G, 2019 was supposed to be the year of the folding phone, with Samsung, Huawei, and others all developing handsets that can open to a tablet. Beyond the technical issues, many reviewers criticised the Fold for its crease, ergonomics, and software, especially when using apps in full-screen mode. While folding screens will almost certainly be a reality one day, the Galaxy Fold saga has proven that manufacturers still need to work out some kinks.
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