Samsung delays launch of folding Galaxy smartphone

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

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SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) — Samsung said yesterday it is delaying the launch of its folding smartphone after trouble with handsets sent to reviewers.

Some reviewers who got their hands on the Galaxy Fold early reported problems with screens breaking.

Samsung said it decided to put off this week's planned release of the Fold after some reviews “showed us how the device needs further improvements”.

The South Korean consumer electronics giant planned to announce a new release date for the Galaxy Fold in the coming weeks.

Initial analysis of reported problems with Galaxy Fold screens showed they could be “associated with impact on the top and bottom exposed areas of the hinge”, Samsung said.

There was also an instance where unspecified “substances” were found inside a Galaxy Fold smartphone with a troubled display, according to the company.

“We will take measures to strengthen the display protection,” Samsung said.

“We will also enhance the guidance on care and use of the display including the protective layer.”

A handful of US-based reporters were given the flagship Galaxy Fold phones, priced at US$1,980, ahead of the model's official release, and they reported screen issues within days of using the devices.

“The screen on my Galaxy Fold review unit is completely broken and unusable just two days in,” Bloomberg's Mark Gunman tweeted.

And Dieter Bohn of The Verge said: “Something happened to my Galaxy Fold screen and caused a bulge... It's broken.”

Samsung spent nearly eight years developing the Galaxy Fold, which is part of the leading smartphone maker's strategy to propel growth with groundbreaking gadgets.

The firm had earlier suggested some reviewers encountered screen failures because a protective layer intended to remain in place on the display was accidentally removed by reviewers.

 

ADDING TO SAMSUNG WOES

Samsung is the world's biggest smartphone maker, and earlier this month launched the 5G version of its top-end Galaxy S10 device.

But despite the recent announcements about its new high-end devices, Samsung has warned of a more than 60 per cent plunge in first-quarter operating profit in the face of weakening markets.

The firm is also no stranger to device issues.

Its reputation suffered a major blow after a damaging worldwide recall of its Galaxy Note 7 devices over exploding batteries in 2016, which cost the firm billions of dollars and shattered its global brand image.

Samsung originally planned to release the Galaxy Fold as scheduled on April 26.

While Samsung's device was not the first folding handset, the smartphone giant was expected to help spark demand and potentially revive a sector that has been struggling for new innovations.

Other folding devices have been introduced by start-up Royole and by Chinese-based Huawei.


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