Samsung Galaxy Fold launch postponed in China as screens crack on early reviewers

Industry experts say it could further delay the launch of the Galaxy Fold in the UAE.

The Samsung Galaxy Fold was due to be launched in April. AP
The Samsung Galaxy Fold was due to be launched in April. AP

Reports of cracked screens and flickering displays appear to have convinced Samsung to put off media launch events of its Galaxy Fold in Hong Kong and Shanghai this week.

Originally scheduled for April 23 and 24, the events have been postponed with no new dates scheduled, the South Korean company said, without specifying a reason behind the cancellations.

Industry experts say it could further delay the launch of the Galaxy Fold in the UAE.

“Considering the ongoing issues with the phone, it is better to wait … it will also give Samsung enough time to address the problem, avoiding any last-minute glitch and disappointing tech enthusiasts,” Abbas Ali, managing editor of TechRadar Middle East, told The National.

“Earlier we were expecting this phone in the UAE by May. But if its US launch is also delayed then our wait could be further stretched,” added Mr Ali.

Samsung is still trying to get out from the shadow of 2016's disastrous Galaxy Note 7, which had to be recalled after dozens spontaneously caught fire because of defective batteries, and complaints about the Note 8 battery draining too fast. The company reported $2 billion in profit loss due to the global recall of the Galaxy Note 7 in the third quarter of 2016. The delay in launching its folding phone may give it time to fix glitches before it is distributed to mass markets around the globe and save Samsung from reputational damage.

Problems with the $2,000 Galaxy Fold began two days after the company distributed around 500 devices to reviewers last week. Some US tech journalists and early reviewers who had managed to get their hands on the phones prior to the US release – currently scheduled for April 26 – reported a faulty hinge on the folding screen and a malfunctioning display.

It is unclear if Samsung will revise its US and Europe roll-out dates.

Samsung, the world’s biggest smartphone manufacturer and the first to roll out a folding display, has responded to the controversy saying they will look into the issue, but largely blamed user error for the issues.

"A few reviewers reported having removed the top layer of the display causing damage to the screen. The main display on the Galaxy Fold features a top protective layer, which is part of the display structure designed to protect the screen from unintended scratches. Removing the protective layer or adding adhesives to the main display may cause damage," Samsung said in a statement.

Following in Samsung’s footsteps, Chinese manufacturer Huawei also announced its first 5G and foldable phone, the Mate X, at the Mobile World Congress in February. In its compact form, the device works as a smartphone with a 16.8cm screen and, when unfolded, it turns into a slim tablet with a 20.3cm screen that is 5.4mm thick.

The company, based in Shenzhen, has announced the base model will retail at the relatively high price of $2,607 (Dh9,576) and it will be available initially in select markets in Europe in the middle of this year.

Updated: April 22, 2019 02:13 PM


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