CNET: Galaxy Fold’s troubled screen can’t have the one thing it needs

Commentary: The foldable phone's 7.3-inch screen would be the perfect home for a digital pen.

By now the Galaxy Fold's screen problems are well known
By now the Galaxy Fold's screen problems are well known

By now the Galaxy Fold’s screen problems are well known.

After the Galaxy Fold’s plastic Infinity Flex display suffered breakdown after breakdown on five early production review units, Samsung pushed back the launch of Fold preorders until June to find a way to reinforce that delicate screen.

What the Fold needs most is a bendable glass topper for the delicate electronics underneath, a substance that Gorilla Glass maker Corning says may not be available for another year or two.

When that time comes, some of Samsung’s current phone screen problems might vanish, like debris working its way beneath the display, damage due to pressure and easy screen scratches. Bendable glass would open up a new opportunity for the Fold, one that seemed blindingly obvious to me after about five minutes of using the Galaxy Fold: this device is crying out for a stylus. 

Samsung’s foldable phone opens to reveal a 7.3-inch screen. This phone-tablet hybrid has roughly 11.5% more display than the Galaxy Note 9’s 6.4-inch screen, a phone defined by its S Pen stylus. A stylus just makes sense, and when you’re already paying $1,980 for a “luxury” device, getting the ability to do more would only increase the Fold’s value.

A stylus is the Galaxy Fold’s perfect accessory. Everything you’d do on a phone like the rumored Note 10 you’d also want to do on the Fold, from navigating around and annotating items, to drawing or writing on the larger surface. Samsung already has this technology down pat, and extending the S Pen to the Fold could help Samsung further differentiate itself from other brands and win more Note fans.

Although my own Galaxy Fold review unit worked flawlessly until Samsung asked for it back (this was scheduled from the start), I did notice first one screen dent and then another and a third, all accrued during my 10-day review period. While I’ve been known to scratch “regular” glass-topped phones in my purse or — yikes — the pavement, I had been babying the Fold. 

A device you worry about marring with your fingernail isn’t one you needle countless times a day with the plastic tip of a digital pen. More