Samsung has retrieved, or is trying to retrieve, all the Galaxy Fold devices that they released to reviewers following reports of all sorts of problems. After showing the device with great fanfare in the lead up to Mobile World Congress this year, the Korean electronics powerhouse is, once again, defending a device that looks to be a great idea that hasn't been executed successfully.
After the Galaxy Note 7 debacle, where a design flaw resulted in airlines banning the smartphones from aircraft and the company having to recall every unit of the fire-prone model, Samsung is once again facing a PR disaster.
We reported on the problems faced by early Galaxy Fold reviewers.
iFixIt has competed its tear-down of the Galaxy Fold and the news isn't good.
Amongst the issues they discovered:
- The mechanics involved in the fold are likely to wear over time, causing stress to hinges and display, necessitating eventual replacement.
- The lack of protection and fragility of the main display mean you'll almost certainly be replacing the screen before long — a pricey repair.
- Glued-down glass both front and back means greater risk of breakage, and makes repairs difficult.
The best they could offer from their analysis was that the device could be opened with a single screwdriver and some of the parts are modular.
Samsung's vision for the Galaxy Fold is to be commended. But how such a device made it out of a lab at this stage and into public domain reflects some poor decision making. And now it has been forced into pulling all review units back and delaying the release.
The new release date is going to be some time away as the company said in a statement that it plans "to announce the release date in the coming weeks".
The issues with particulates behind the display, as noted by The Verge's Dieter Bohn aren't likely to be an isolated problem. According to iFixIt, "this smartphone/tablet hybrid has lots of potential entry points—and not the good kind".
And the iFixIt comments about fragility have been confirmed with Samsung saying it "will take measures to strengthen the display protection".
The smartphone business is highly competitive and approaching saturation. In order for a company to increase sales, it needs to flip customers from its competitors. And that means offering new ways to do things and innovative tech that has the "wow factor".
The Galaxy Fold is packed with "wow".
But in pushing the envelope of design and innovation, Samsung has rushed a product to market that clearly isn't ready.