When consumers first got word of a foldable smartphone, they were understandably thrilled and intrigued. Samsung developed a phone with a display that would literally bend in half, giving users the option of a standard-sized smartphone display, or a tablet-sized screen, all in the same device. After years of research and production, Samsung was finally ready to share their revolutionary device with the world.
Or so they thought.
Samsung Galaxy Fold Release Delayed Indefinitely
Samsung initially chose April 26, 2019, as the launch date for the Galaxy Fold. But mere days after sending phones to various publications for review pre-launch, Samsung delayed the launch date indefinitely.
Customers who preordered the Galaxy Fold have since gotten messages from AT&T that suggest the new release date may be June 13, 2019. But rumors suggest that may just be a placeholder date.
So what exactly went wrong? What is causing these state-of-the-art, folding smartphones to fail? It turns out, the problem lies within the very feature that consumers are most excited about: the display.
Problems With Samsung Galaxy Fold Display
Despite what their name suggests, the folks at iFixit spend much of their time breaking down phones. And while it sounds like an enjoyable way to spend the afternoon, they do so to give consumers a better idea of just how durable a product is. Needless to say, they couldn’t wait to get their hands on the Samsung Galaxy Fold.
While on the iFixit “teardown table” there were several important aspects of the phone’s design that were uncovered. It was discovered that the most detrimental design flaw is the number of areas where debris can get into the phone and damage or disrupt the display.
The Galaxy Fold has a plastic display that is attached by a thin, plastic bezel. The bezel is glued along the edges of the phone, except where the phone folds. And that’s where the problems begin. At the phone’s hinge, there is no bezel to protect the edge of the display.
Whether the phone is lying open, folded, or somewhere in between, it’s disturbingly easy for just about any small object to get under the display. If enough debris, or a large enough object, gets under the display, it can become stuck and put pressure on the display screen, causing irreversible damage.
As the phone is being folded, the display lifts away from the body of the phone, leaving plenty of room for debris to get in. The action of folding and unfolding the phone can then move that debris around, potentially damaging the display.
Debris can also get into the back of the smartphone, because of gaps along the spine. This may not directly cause damage to the display, but it’s definitely not good for the phone.
It also doesn’t help that Samsung chose an OLED display for the Fold. OLED screens are far more fragile than LCD displays. To combat this issue, Samsung provided a thin protective layer that several reviewers unknowingly removed, thinking it was a flimsy, temporary screen protector. Yes, it looks that cheap. For those of us who immediately peel the protective film off our devices upon opening them, it would be far too tempting having to look at the cheap film covering the phone every day.
Galaxy Fold Display: Too Fragile?
We think it was definitely a smart move by Samsung to delay the launch date. We can only hope they closely examine the recalled review units, study the numerous vulnerabilities, and find solutions before consumers lose interest or competitors take advantage of the Fold catastrophe.
To truly succeed as a smartphone in this day and age, Samsung will have to ensure the Fold is able to hold up against everyday use. Unfortunately, that may mean having to go back to the drawing board, so they can come up with a way to protect the exposed points at the phone’s hinge, while still allowing for the remarkable folding feature. Cheap, plastic bezels that only cover a portion of the display’s edge clearly aren’t working as well as Samsung had hoped.
We can’t help but think there is a solution out there. We just hope Samsung discovers it sooner rather than later.