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Samsung has finally announced a launch for its troubled foldable phone. The company today confirmed that the Samsung Galaxy Fold will go on sale in its native South Korea tomorrow, September 6, followed by the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Singapore, and other markets in the “coming weeks.”
While Samsung hasn’t confirmed an exact U.S. launch date for the Galaxy Fold, Bloomberg reports that it will launch Stateside on September 27.
The Galaxy Fold, as its name suggests, is a phone that opens out into a larger-screened tablet form factor. The Korean tech giant first announced the device at an event back in February, with preorders opening in April. However, a number of early reviewers reported issues with the screen, leading Samsung to delay its launch.
The $2,000 device, which also comes in a 5G version, was one of a number of foldable devices announced this year, though the first was actually Chinese company Royole, which rushed to debut its FlexPai phone last year. Royole later put its foldable on display at Mobile World Congress (MWC) back in February, alongside the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei’s Mate X 5G foldable.
But all eyes have been on Samsung, as the world’s perennial number one smartphone company in terms of shipments, particularly given its focus on key global markets. Huawei won’t be selling its foldable in the U.S. anytime soon, and Royole’s incarnation isn’t yet available to the global masses, leaving Samsung as a major driving force behind the foldable surge.
The Samsung Galaxy Fold display is a giant 7.3 inches diagonally when unfolded, and a more modest 4.6 inches when folded, with 12GB of RAM and 512GB of internal storage. It will be available to buy in black and silver, with the 5G version launching only in countries that have the necessary 5G networks in place.
Samsung said it has been “refining the Galaxy Fold” over the past few months “to ensure it delivers the best possible experience,” with a particular focus on design and construction. While stopping short of referencing the screen issues cited by a number of reporters in April, the company did say it “learned from the feedback it received.”
To allay lingering fears, Samsung is also planning to offer “specialized customer care services” for the Galaxy Fold, which will include access to Samsung experts and a 24/7 online and telephone support line.
“The category-defining Galaxy Fold is a device that defies the barriers of traditional smartphone design,” said DJ Koh, president and CEO of Samsung’s IT and mobile communications unit. “Now, we’re excited to release this pioneering mobile technology and allow consumers to experience it for themselves. Consumers have responded positively to larger screens, and the Galaxy Fold’s revolutionary form factor offers a bigger, more immersive screen without sacrificing portability.”
Given its hefty starting price tag of around $2,000 and its yet-to-be-determined practical utility in the real world, the Galaxy Fold will likely rely on early adopters at launch. But as the technology is refined and the price of these type of devices come down, we could see wider adoption of flexible displays for all manner of use cases, from automobiles to spherical smart speakers.
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