According to Samsung, the Galaxy Fold was supposed to be revolutionary. The futuristic $2,000 phone was positioned as the first foldable smartphone from a major manufacturer, allowing Samsung to leverage its display leadership into a hybrid phone/tablet device that no one else could produce. The Galaxy Fold’s early media-review period was a disaster, though, with social media quickly filling with photos of dead and dying Galaxy Folds. After several phones died in the hands of reviewers, Samsung was forced to cancel the launch, and many pre-orders were refunded.
That was all in April. Now it’s July, and there’s still no sign of the Galaxy Fold actually making it to market. Speaking to The Independent, Samsung Electronics CEO DJ Koh gave the press an update on the device, though there is still no firm re-launch date.
Speaking of the Galaxy Fold launch, Koh said, “It was embarrassing. I pushed it through before it was ready.” For now, Koh says the company is “in the process of recovery” and doing lots of testing. “At the moment,” Koh said, “more than 2,000 devices are being tested right now in all aspects. We defined all the issues. Some issues we didn’t even think about, but thanks to our reviewers, mass volume testing is ongoing.”
As for why the Galaxy Fold was rushed to market so quickly, there’s a good chance that Samsung was caught off-guard by its competition and wanted to beat everyone else to the foldables market. Samsung probably didn’t envision having to fight anyone for the first foldable-smartphone launch. Samsung is the undisputed leader in smartphone display technology, and the company spent six years and a $130 million dollars to make foldable displays a reality. Samsung alleges that its folding display technology was stolen, though, and sold to two unnamed Chinese companies.
Elsewhere in the market, two Chinese companies, Huawei and its display supplier BoE, have been the closest to beating Samsung to a foldables launch. The Huawei Mate X was announced just days after the Galaxy Fold, with a bigger screen and an even more futuristic design. With Samsung’s foldable-display exclusivity evaporating, the theory is that the company chose to rush the Galaxy Fold out the door with inadequate testing.
Koh still sees a Galaxy Fold relaunch on the horizon, with The Independent quoting him as saying, “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 reviewers].”
When asked when the Galaxy Fold would actually come out, Koh only said, “In due course. Give us a bit more time.”
Listing image by Mark Gurman