Instead of a press release filled with glowing reviews and flowery superlatives, Samsung is doing a bit of damage control the week before its next-generation Galaxy Fold is due to hit stores.
As it turns out, the $2,000 device might not be ready for prime time, as numerous early reviewers posted pics and videos of their devices in various stages of ruin.
In some cases, the screen protector was accidentally removed, creating issues with the polymer display. But many of the problems were issues that appeared to be quality control related, an embarrassing problem for a phone that’s being touted as the next big thing. And that’s not to mention the crease, bulkiness, or buggy software.
Over at The Verge, Dieter Bohn documented a “small bulge right on the crease” on his Galaxy Fold, which looked unsightly and caused display issues. He also noted “a couple of minor dings” on his screen, even though the screen protector in place. Steve Kovach from CNBC also posted a video of his glitching-out Fold, while Mark Gurman of Bloomberg and YouTube star Marques Brownlee both accidentally removed the plastic layer and DOA’d their devices.
That might seem like a small sample size, but consider that there are very few Galaxy Folds in circulation right now. And they’ve only been in people’s hands for a day or two. For its part, Samsung has collected the affected units and replaced them, while issuing the following statement:
A limited number of early Galaxy Fold samples were provided to media for review. We have received a few reports regarding the main display on the samples provided. We will thoroughly inspect these units in person to determine the cause of the matter.
Separately, 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. We will ensure this information is clearly delivered to our customers.
That’s akin to Steve Jobs’s famous “You’re holding it wrong” in response to the iPhone 4’s antenna issues. Words like “limited,” “samples,” and “few” make it seem like the problems are extremely rare, but in reality, they’re fairly widespread for a product that is due to go on sale in a week. Samsung has already sold out of pre-orders. And it wouldn’t have handed out review units if it wasn’t confident the quality was up to snuff.
Besides, these aren’t small problems that can be fixed with a software update, like the Apple Watch Series 3’s cellular issues. They’re a pretty clear indication that the Galaxy Fold isn’t ready for release and the reason why Samsung is the first and only phone maker mass-producing a phone with a folding screen.
It’s Apple’s old adage: A thousand nos for every yes. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. At least not yet.
The folding future
When the Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X were shown off in February, people were rightfully enamored.
No longer were folding screens limited to concept videos and sci-fi movies—here was something we could actually buy. As expected, it didn’t come cheap, but that didn’t stop people from rolling over them. More