Since there are two ways to skin a cat, we asked you whether the case of the "breaking" Galaxy Fold
loaner units that Samsung sent out to tech "influencers" is due to said stars of the YouTube tech scene doing dumb stuff with a device they apparently read nothing on beforehand, or some grand failure on Samsung part, akin to the Note 7 drama.
Since a few of the tens of loaner units started displaying issues, most of it because the "techies" in question had no idea that foldable phones can't have cover glass but use a transparent flexible polyimide film instead, or propped the hinge on clay material, your responses reflected that fairly. More than 40% of our respondents said that it is too early to tell, while 34% were of the opinion that reviewers should have known what's their job to know.
Samsung apparently had naive faith in the prep work of tech influencers, too, and sent them boxed units without the warning that the top display layer is not a protective film that it has on the retail Galaxy Fold units. Much to its chagrin, though, the tech jockeys managed to scrub it off anyway, and started the predictable Twitter outrage why the display didn't work properly. Still, Samsung is going ahead with the Galaxy Fold launch date next week which comes to show that it is not fundamentally worried about structural problems with the Fold, so, indeed, time will tell, just as you note below.
The thing is, we've written plenty of articles before the Fold was announced that it will come with a transparent polyimide that can be bent numerous times without any visible differences, developed by the Japanese from Sumitomo Chemical. This is one of the reasons why the Fold has limited production runs and all the units on pre-order were gone the other day.
Kolon's flexible PI cover is something you shouldn't be trying to peel off the bendy RAZR when it comes, either
The problems stem from the complexity of assembly, of course, given that the phone
folds in half around a mid-screen fault line, but also from the sourcing of the specific components needed for said bending action. Chief among those are the crazy hinge mechanism, the cover polyimide (PI), as well as the special film type adhesive that Samsung has been developing for years. That in-house Optically Clear Adhesive (OCA) can stretch and shrink numerous times without unglueing the screen part or forming bulges. In the lab, at least, as loaner units for reviewers already showed dust getting underneath the film even if they didn't try to peel the cover film.
Sumitomo was allegedly chosen before the home production of the Koreans from Kolon because of the "luxurious" to the touch feeling similar to cover glass. Kolon, however, supplied the flexible cover for the first foldable device announced, Royole's FlexPai
, and will reportedly rise from the ashes of Samsung's neglect by equipping Motorola's upcoming flexible RAZR
. Motorola is said to aim for about 200,000 RAZR phones in total which is a decent batch, and Kolon says they are "currently supplying transparent PI samples to global display companies. However, it is difficult to confirm whether our products were used for certain devices
Thus, we don't know if the Mate X
cover is made by Kolon, Sumitomo or a third company, but the crux of the matter is that these PI films on bendable phones are a brand new phenomenon, and do not form a rigid package together with the flexible display with plastic substrate underneath as they do on, say, the Galaxy S10.
This is precisely why Samsung wrote a warning not to try and remove or add anything from/to the Galaxy Fold display, and it is written right on the protective nylon that comes with a new Fold in the box.
T-Mobile's Des posted this and said that it is 'maybe I shouldn't be doing this' level hard to peel off the polyimide display cover of the Galaxy Fold, but they still did it anyway
It's not in the manual (who reads those, right), not somewhere on the box - it's right there on the screen, but, unfortunately, not on most of the review loaners Samsung sent out. And since a lot of YouTubers and influencers are famous because they are famous, and don't really dive very deep in reading about how and why something was made instead of sliding on the surface of feelings and shock thumbnails, they had no idea that this is the "cover glass" of foldable phones they were trying to peel off, not a screen protector
If they had read up on the craft of producing foldable phones beforehand, as tech reviewers should have, they would have known about PI films, adhesives, and other details Samsung probably didn't feel it needs to warn them about for that same reason. On the other hand, that doesn't explain loaner Fold units that developed various big and small issues without trying to peel the screen off.