Thursday 19 September 2019

Adrian Weckler: Samsung won't fold on phone that's not all it's cracked up to be

A view of the new Samsung Galaxy Fold (Martyn Landi/PA)
A view of the new Samsung Galaxy Fold (Martyn Landi/PA)
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Samsung has indefinitely delayed the release of its troubled new folding phone as it looks for a technical fix to the misfiring screen.

The tech giant has begun a targeted recall of all Galaxy Fold devices currently under review from industry and media sources.

The folding phone has suffered breaks, bulges and blinking screens since it was placed in the hands of press reviewers.

The company doesn’t yet know why the product keeps breaking.

However, it will be keen to avoid a repeat of the disastrous Note 7 “exploding phone” recall of 2016, which cost the company billions in lost revenue and reputational damage.

The Fold model was flagged by Samsung as a major breakthrough in phone technology. It has a 4.6in (11.7cm) screen when folded over and a 7.3in (18.5cm) tablet display when fully extended.

A statement from Samsung in the US says that the company still intends to launch the device soon, with a renewed release date to be announced in the coming weeks.

“Initial findings from the inspection of reported issues on the display showed that they could be associated with impact on the top and bottom exposed areas of the hinge,” said the company statement.

“There was also an instance where substances found inside the device affected the display performance.”

But Samsung says that it will not fundamentally redesign one of the issues that caused problems with the phone.

“We will 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,” the company said, referring to the thin screen protector film that reviewers instinctively tried to peel off, damaging the display.

A spokeswoman for Samsung Ireland said the phone was expected to launch here in the second half of 2019.

The Galaxy Fold is set to cost more than €2,000 when it is released on the Irish market.

At that price, demand for the device is expected to be limited, with shipments this year likely to make up less than 0.5pc of Samsung’s annual total, analysts and investors said.

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