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Samsung to gather all Galaxy Fold units sent out to reporters for investigation

Samsung to gather all Galaxy Fold units sent out to reporters for investigation
Samsung’s first smartphone with a foldable display is writing history, no doubt about it. What will this segment of the tech industry archives say exactly, is still uncertain. It seems like every day we get a new development in the saga of the Galaxy Fold.

First, reviewers around the world got Galaxy Fold units ahead of the launch, as is tradition, to give users insights about how the new device feels to use. The initial feedback was mostly positive. Reporters said that the hinge mechanism is durable and satisfying to use and the crease in the display is barely visible when handling the device. That raised hopes among consumers that the Galaxy Fold is more than a prototype that Samsung has decided to sell to a few customers.

But that joy was short-lived, at least for some of the testers. Pictures of damaged displays started showing up on Twitter and while some were caused by the users which mistakenly tried to peel a layer of the display, others were of no fault of the person handling the Galaxy Fold.

Samsung is in damage control mode

Samsung has handled the situation as best as possible. Damaged units were replaced almost immediately, but now the company is going even further. Yesterday, Samsung announced that it is postponing the release of the Galaxy Fold to give itself time to investigate the various issues the device had and hopefully come up with ways to prevent them.

Naturally, in order to investigate, Samsung needs to get said units. According to Reuters, the move is already underway. Sources familiar with the situation have said that Samsung is going to retrieve all units that it sent out to reviewers in order to take a thorough look at them. So far, none of the reviewers with working units has mentioned that they've had to part ways with their Galaxy Fold.

What’s causing all these problems?

As soon as the Galaxy Fold was announced and the tech behind its foldable display was explained, concerns were raised about its durability. In order for the display to be able to bend, Samsung had to ditch the battle proven Gorilla Glass and go for something softer, in this case, plastic. The Galaxy Fold’s in-folding design provides some protection for the large inner display, but there are a couple of caveats that have proven to be a weakness for the device.

One is the small gap that’s left between the two panels when the phone is closed. While it’s not a large one, it’s enough to get random small objects that might be lurking in your pocket stuck in the fold of the display, causing scratches or potentially even damaging the OLED panel under the protective plastic.

The other is the area between the hinge and the display, which also appears to be a lucrative spot for unwanted debris to sneak into. Then once you unfold the display whatever is stuck under it starts putting pressure on the display matrix and can easily damage it, which was the case with one of the devices sent to reporters.

Now all that’s left to see is how long the launch of the Galaxy Fold will be delayed and what changes Samsung is going to make. With units initially expected to start shipping around April 26, it’s obvious that a large number are already manufactured and waiting in storage somewhere. Making any design changes at this point will be a costly and slow process. On the other hand, Samsung can’t afford to send devices that might break within a week to customers that are paying $2000 for them. We’ll see how this situation unfolds (pun intended) as it might be one of the most difficult things Samsung has had to deal with since the Note 7 fiasco.

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