While Samsung continues to prepare for the April 26th launch of the Samsung Galaxy Fold in several markets, including the U.S., it appears that in at least one country there will be a delay. According to a tweet from tipster Ice Universe (@UniverseIce), Samsung has delayed the release of its foldable phone in China. In addition, two activities that were scheduled to coincide with the phone's launch in the country have been postponed.
Samsung's decision to push back the release of the Galaxy Fold in China comes after several review units had issues with the foldable screen. In most of these cases, a plastic polyimide film was removed from the internal screen, causing the display to malfunction. While the plastic cover, sourced by Samsung from Japan's Sumitomo Chemical, wasn't exactly a surprise (it had been mentioned in multiple PhoneArena stories), Samsung also included a warning with its review units. Written on a wrap placed over the screen, it says "ATTENTION. The main screen includes a special protective layer. Peeling off the protective layer or using any adhesives on the main screen, such as screen protectors or stickers, may cause damage." For some of the influencers who received a Galaxy Fold and didn't read this, the plastic appeared to be the kind of protective layer that one would normally peel off the screen of a new phone. Except in this case, it was something different.
Perhaps considering this to be a mistake on the part of the influencers who received the review units, Samsung decided not to make any changes to its timetable, at least in the states. But there have been issues with the device not caused by removing the plastic film. One unit had something lodge in between the screen and hinge. This debris caused a small bulge on the phone, but more importantly, it caused the internal screen to malfunction.
SamMobile reports that Samsung is blaming the delay on the venue where it was planning to hold the now postponed launch event. But that doesn't explain the postponement of the two other events. It is possible that Samsung has delayed the launch of the Galaxy Fold in China in order to print more warnings about the protective layer on the main screen.
The negative publicity is not exactly what Samsung was hoping for when it sent out review units to influencers. And when you take into consideration the $1,980 price tag of the phone, talk about defective screens sounds even worse. Early adapters surely won't be deterred from buying a Galaxy Fold; for these consumers, the idea of being first on their block with one far outweighs the possibility that the unit they buy might have to be sent back.
Other smartphone manufacturers are monitoring Samsung's reaction and response to this "crisis"
Samsung's Galaxy Fold isn't the first or last device in the new foldable niche of the smartphone marketplace. The Royole FlexPai was first, although the Galaxy Fold is the first from a major manufacturer. Later this summer, we expect the Huawei Mate X to be released (priced at the equivalent of $2,600 USD) and other manufacturers such as TCL, Oppo, and Xiaomi have said that they will offer foldable models. In the U.S., the Motorola RAZR (2019) has many consumers excited. A smartphone version of one of the most popular featurephones of all time (130 million RAZR V3 units were sold), the foldable, Android-powered RAZR is rumored to feature a small external screen, and will flip open vertically to reveal a 6.2-inch tall and thin display (with an aspect ratio of 22:9). The RAZR will reportedly be a Verizon exclusive, priced in the neighborhood of $1,500.
We could say that something good actually came from the removal of the plastic film from review units. Samsung will now make sure that it includes enough warnings with the packaging so that those who shelled out nearly two grand for their Galaxy Fold know not to do the same thing. And we would imagine that other manufacturers have been monitoring the situation and will include such warnings with the packaging of their foldable phones as well.