Samsung Postpones Galaxy Fold Launch Over Screen Failures

Samsung has delayed this week’s planned launch of its Galaxy Fold folding smartphone after early reviewers reported faults with the folding display.

The move follows earlier reports that it had postponed launch events in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

The company announced the Galaxy Fold earlier this year and is under pressure to bring it to market ahead of rivals Huawei and Xiaomi.

Both have shown off folding smartphone prototypes, but neither has given a launch date.

The Galxy Fold. // Samsung

Screen defects

Samsung had planned to put its $2,000 (£1,800) device on sale in the US on 26 April and in the UK on 3 May.

Samsung said it would announce new launch dates in the “coming weeks”.

In April, a number of reviewers found one or both halves of the folding screen began flickering and finally died after less than 48 hours of use.

Samsung claims the device has been tested to withstand 200,000 folds in its lifetime, or more than 100 folds per day for five years.

The company said it would “fully evaluate the feedback and run further internal tests”.

It said in some cases damage may have been caused by “impact on the top and bottom exposed areas of the hinge”.

It also found that “substances found inside the device” may have affected display performance.

Huawei’s folding Mate X smartphone. // Huawei

‘Vast potential’

In an apparently separate issue, some reviewers peeled away a protective layer of plastic from the front of the screen that was intended to remain in place, thinking it was a temporary screen protector.

Samsung said it would look to improve its guidance to users on the purpose of the plastic layer.

The company said that many reviewers experienced no issues with their folding smartphones.

“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,” Samsung said in a statement.  “To fully evaluate this feedback and run further internal tests, we have decided to delay the release of the Galaxy Fold.”

While the expensive device is not intended for a mass market, it had been hailed as a return to design innovation at a time when most smartphones had taken on a similar appearance.

Huawei and Xiaomi have shown their folding products but not yet allowed reviewers to test them.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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