Yesterday, Samsung Electronics CEO DJ Koh not only gave an update on the status of the Galaxy Fold, but he also explained how he personally felt about the botched launch. With the phone circling in a waiting pattern waiting for a green light from Samsung ground control, Ars Technica reports that the executive is embarrassed by the fiasco. To recap, with much fanfare, Samsung announced that the first foldable from a major manufacturer was ready to be released on April 26th. But just days before the launch, Samsung had to delay the launch.
Galaxy Fold review units sent to influencers, several of them started peeling a plastic film on the internal screen. On a regular phone, this is normal procedure to remove a protective covering. But as Samsung made it clear on the packaging, removing this film on the Galaxy Fold could stop the screen from working. Other issues surfaced; on some units, the display just died and on one, debris or dust was sucked in through an opening on the hinge. This resulted in a bulge that formed on the internal display. So Samsung went back to the drawing board and has tucked the plastic film inside the casing so that it can't be picked at. And the gaps at the top and bottom of the hinge are now too narrow to allow dust or debris from getting sucked into the phone by that route. It isn't clear what other fixes have been made to the device.Despite warnings placed on
Samsung could face some internal pressure to get the Galaxy Fold to market before Huawei's Mate X
Pre-orders at AT&T and Best Buy have been canceled. Samsung also did the same although it kept the reservations open for those who made such a request. Right now, Koh says that more than 2,000 units are being tested, which makes it appear as though we won't see the Galaxy Fold shipped until August at the earliest. The executive says, "The last couple of weeks I think we defined all of the issues and all of the problems we couldn't find [before sending to influencers]." He adds that its long-awaited foldable phone will be released "in due course. Give us a bit more time."
There could be some internal pressure inside Samsung to get the Galaxy Fold out in the marketplace before Huawei releases its Mate X. Originally scheduled for a summer launch, the Mate X is now expected to start shipping sometime in September. And even if you stick to the exact definition of summer in the Western Hemisphere, it still counts as a delay. Neither company was able to beat Royale and its FlexPai to create the 'foldable' category, but both Samsung and Huawei (the one and two top smartphone manufacturers in the world at last count) would like to be the first of the major manufacturers to ring up a foldable phone.
Don't underestimate the importance of being first; even Samsung's Koh admits that he rushed the phone's release before it was ready. After spending six years and $130 million on the device, it obviously would have been better if the company didn't rush it out. But once it became obvious that Huawei was prepping it's own foldable, Samsung wanted to beat the Chinese manufacturer to the punch. Now, that is still up in the air.