Samsung has delayed the launch of its first-generation hybrid tablet and phone, the Galaxy Fold, according to a report this morning from the Wall Street Journal. The nearly $2,000 device was set to be the first foldable smartphone from a major manufacturer, arriving ahead of Huawei’s $2,600 Mate X.
Relying on a flexible 7.3-inch OLED screen unfortunately covered by a thin piece of clear plastic, the Galaxy Fold was clearly pitched at the earliest of early adopters, but it rapidly succumbed to multiple display failures in the hands of its first reviewers.
In some cases, testers removed the clear plastic — believing it to be a temporary screen protector — while in others, the display apparently failed for different reasons. Each of the failures happened within mere days of the devices’ first use, and several reviewers suggested that a warning label was either missing from their device or insufficient to ward off the issues.
Samsung gathered the damaged units for assessment and issued replacements, which were described as arriving with visibly dented screen covers. Reviewers stopped short of calling for the launch to be postponed, but VentureBeat strongly urged the company to delay the release and address the problems.
Priced like a premium laptop, the Galaxy Fold promised to straddle the line between a smartphone and a small tablet by switching between the two form factors at will, with a small crease in the tablet screen as its only visible tradeoff. But it’s obvious that the device didn’t receive the sort of comprehensive prerelease testing consumers would expect from pocketable devices — particularly expensive ones — as Samsung rushed its prototype to market to be the world’s first major vendor with a foldable phone.
Samsung had originally opened limited preorders for Galaxy Fold on April 12 and promised to ship early orders on April 26. No new release date has been scheduled, but one is apparently “expected in the coming weeks.” The company had notably cancelled scheduled launch events in Hong Kong and Shanghai before delaying the U.S. release today.
Updated at 10:14 a.m. Pacific: In a press release, Samsung said that it will “take measures to strengthen the display protection” on the Galaxy Fold, and “enhance the guidance on care and use of the display” so customers will “get the most out of their Galaxy Fold.”
According to the company, a revised release date will be announced “in the coming weeks,” as the company is continuing to run tests and evaluate reviewer feedback.
Initial findings from the inspection of reported issues on the display showed that they could be associated with impact on the top and bottom exposed areas of the hinge. There was also an instance where substances found inside the device affected the display performance.
The company thanked customers for their patience and understanding as it resolves the issues, and said that it was encouraged by the excitement it has seen for the Galaxy Fold.