If you were hoping to pick up a Galaxy Fold soon, bad news — on April 22, Samsung announced a delay for the release of the highly anticipated foldable smartphones, citing the necessity for further improvements made to the devices. This news comes hot on the heels of reports that several tech critics, who were given Galaxy Folds to test before the phones’ scheduled April 26 release, saw the $1,980 devices malfunction within days.
First revealed in February 2019, the Samsung Galaxy Fold raised eyebrows for its unique ability to fold in half, and the actual product’s design proved to be even more futuristic than many people expected. When folded, the phone works like a regular smartphone, but when opened, it becomes a screen-spacious tablet with no obvious lines or hinges splitting the display down the center.
Unfortunately, soon after Samsung sent test units for critics to review, many of the phone screens began to break. Some tech reviewers discovered issues related to the phone’s hinges, or found strange bubbling beneath the screen. When the reviewers who saw bubbles peeled the thin, top layer off the phone, thinking that a removable screen protector was causing the bubbles, they found that the thin layer was actually part of the screen — and separating it from the device broke the phone display
The Verge’s reviewer, Dieter Bohn, also reported that after just one day of using his Galaxy Fold, a small bulge appeared at the edge of the screen, just underneath where the hinge is located. He presumed that an item or piece of debris had become stuck, and while he couldn’t confirm if that was the case, he expressed disappointment that the expensive product had broken so quickly. “Whatever happened, it certainly wasn’t because I have treated this phone badly,” Bohn wrote.
Many critics have expressed their frustration that these issues presumably went unnoticed by Samsung before the phones were sent out for testing, especially since the company did apparently address one problem in advance. According to CNET, after industry leaders observed that folding the Galaxy Fold inwards can cause strain to the screen, Samsung reportedly attempted to reduce that strain by adding a gap between each half of the phone. The company also added in a screen protector, but as reviewers have noted, it apparently isn’t clear that that the protector is meant to stay on the phone permanently.
CNET reports that in a statement, a Samsung rep said the company has found possible causes for the damage within the hinge, as well as “substances found inside the device” that might be affecting the screen. Yet as these problems cannot be resolved in just a few days, Samsung decided to hold off the release of the Galaxy Fold to the public. The company will use the extra time to “take measures to strengthen the display protection” and “enhance the guidance on care and use of the display including the protective layer so that our customers get the most out of their Galaxy Fold,” according to the statement.
In another statement to The New York Times, a Samsung rep added that the company is fully aware of the criticism the phones have received from test users. “While many reviewers shared with us the vast potential they see, some also showed us how the device needs further improvements that could ensure the best possible user experience,” read the statement.
In addition to the Galaxy Ford’s release being delayed, promotional events for the phone in Hong Kong and Shanghai have been postponed as well. However, Samsung still plans on debuting the Galaxy Fold to the public before long, with a new release date expected to be announced within the next few weeks for the improved, hopefully problem-free phones.