Coverage: Samsung delays release of folding phone
Samsung Electronics Co. delayed the rollout of its Galaxy Fold because of technical problems just days ahead of its planned launch, a blow to the hardware giant and its hopes for a product it billed as one of the smartphone market’s biggest innovations in years
Timothy Martin and Sarah Needleman of The Wall Street Journal had the news:
The Galaxy Fold, the industry’s first mainstream foldable-screen device, was slated to reach shelves in the U.S. on Friday, priced at nearly $2,000. But problems with phones being used by reviewers prompted Samsung to push off the debut, the company said Monday, adding that it plans to make public a new release date in the coming weeks.
For buyers who preordered a Galaxy Fold on the company’s website, Samsung was more specific, telling them in an email to expect shipping information in “two weeks.”
The delay in what was a carefully choreographed launch illustrates challenges even the foremost digital-device makers sometimes have in producing major advances as they attempt to add new functions and pack more features into less space.
Less than three years ago, Samsung had to recall its Galaxy Note 7 after faulty batteries caused some of the newly released smartphones to catch fire.
Arjun Kharpal of CNBC.com reported that reporters noted issues when reviewing the new model:
The screen on Samsung’s device can fold in half and open up again to give users a large display. However, journalists who reviewed the product over the past few weeks reported issues with the screen. Some of the reviewers removed a protective film which covered the screen, which appeared to result in some problems with the display. But CNBC’s Todd Haselton did not remove that film during his review and his screen ended up flickering and turning off and on at a rapid pace.
In a statement following the reports of damaged screens, Samsung advised users not to remove the protective film and said it was looking into the issue.
“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,” the company said.
Nicole Nguyen of BuzzFeed News reported that Samsung plans to run more tests:
In a statement to BuzzFeed News, a spokesperson wrote, “To fully evaluate this feedback and run further internal tests, we have decided to delay the release of the Galaxy Fold. We plan to announce the release date in the coming weeks.” After inspection, the device’s issues “could be associated with impact on the top and bottom exposed areas of the hinge,” and additionally, in one instance, “substances found inside the device affected the display performance,” the spokesperson said.
The Galaxy Fold is priced starting at $1,980 (configurations with more storage capacity will likely cost more) through its US-based carriers AT&T and T-Mobile. It has a unique folding design, with a smaller touchscreen on the outside, and a larger tablet-sized touchscreen on the inside that’s revealed when you open the device like a book.
According to one reporter, Mark Gurman of Bloomberg, the larger touchscreen has a protective layer that he had removed while testing the device. Samsung said the layer is not intended to be removed and that the company “will ensure this information is clearly delivered to [its] customers.” The layer appears to cause screen failure (YouTube producer Marques Brownlee tweeted that, after peeling off a part of the phone’s protective film, the display “spazzed and blacked out“).