Galaxy Fold screen mess: Samsung’s best way out might be by sucking up to buyers

Commentary: Samsung has one chance to get its major foldable phone do-over right. Handing out perks is the least it can do.

Samsung Galaxy Fold review
Samsung Galaxy Fold review

The Galaxy Fold is now weeks away from launch and it’s already up to its hinge in quicksand.

By the fifth breakdown in the Fold’s Infinity Flex screen, many onlookers had lost faith in Samsung’s brave new foldable phone design. Samsung’s one saving grace in the embarrassing, sensationalized debacle is that the issues — three in all — were discovered on early production units in reviewers’ hands, and not the final sale devices that customers had shelled out $1,980 apiece for. (CNET’s review unit was never affected.)

Samsung is delaying the Fold’s official release to address what went wrong — which means the world’s largest phone-maker has another shot, perhaps a slim one, to make things right. First, Samsung needs to clear up problems with the screen and hinge, which are easily damaged and compromised. 

Second, after finding ways to communicate to future Fold owners that they should never, under any circumstance, remove the protective screen film, there’s still one thing the brand must do: give Fold owners the red carpet treatment.

By now, Samsung has reclaimed the Galaxy Fold units, defective and whole alike. Returning those units after a 10-day review period was always part of the deal. But there’s little doubt that Samsung is also attempting to run damage control on what has become a runaway situation and a black eye for the brand’s reputation as an innovator.

The Galaxy Fold is not your typical phone by a long shot. At twice the cost of the excellent Galaxy S10 Plus, the Fold represents a new category that makes it phone and tablet in one.

If Samsung wants to position the Fold as a “luxury” device, it will need to make buyers feel like they’re part of an exclusive club with accelerated customer service, free upgrades, gifts and sneak peeks. After all, who doesn’t love a good perk? More