For all the resolution junkies out there, Samsung’s newest Galaxy Fold must’ve been the ultimate dream.
Unveiled at a conference for software developers last year (2018), the prototype was announced with a viewable screen that measures 4.6 inches when folded, and 7.3-inch when unfolded.
The latter, lest one wonders, is around the size of a tablet screen.
And really, it speaks volumes about just how revolutionary the Galaxy Fold is too, considering how hyped it is despite being priced at a whopping US$2,000 (S$2,709).
Truly, for Samsung, a tech company that prides itself on flashy new smartphones with eye-catching features, it seemed to be a luxury cruise waiting to happen.
But as naysayers might say, it was all too good to be true
According to TODAYonline, a small number of gadget reviewers have had the fortune of reviewing Samsung’s newest smartphone last week, just ahead of the device’s public release.
But rather than astounding the critics as a revolutionary product should, it ended up being the primary objective of a critic’s profession:
First, a reviewer expressed that one side of the device’s screen had perished on Day 1. Not exactly the most ideal thing you want someone to preach about your product pre-release.
The next day, another critic said that his device has become unstable. Ouch.
Subsequently, yet another reviewer stepped up to the fore, reporting different problems with the screen.
“They’re constantly throwing new ideas against the wall, and this one broke upon impact,” said Mr Kyle Wiens, chief executive of iFixit, a company that offers instructions for people to repair their devices.
Indeed, as the gaming community would probably put it:
On 18 April 2019, Samsung Electronics issued a statement, stating that it would investigate possible problems with its new foldable phones.
The scheduled release date, according to a spokesman, also remains 26 April 2019 in the United States, which, by the way, is also the release date of Endgame in the US.
Endgame for Samsung, or Samsung for Endgame?
“We will thoroughly inspect these units in person to determine the cause of the matter,” the company said.
Also, Samsung pointed out that the main display has a top layer incorporated to protect the screen from scratches.
Taking this screen off, or adding adhesives to the main display, could potentially damage the screen.
As such, some reviewers were guilty of this act, which Samsung duly noted.
“We will ensure this information is clearly delivered to our customers,” the company said.
However, some reviewers reported that issues occurred even without tampering with the top layer. The executive editor for The Verge, Mr Dieter Bohn, expressed that after “normal use”, he had detected a bulge in the hinge area of the screen on his provided phone.
“Whatever happened, it certainly wasn’t because I have treated this phone badly,” Mr Bohn wrote. “I’ve done normal phone stuff, like opening and closing the hinge and putting it in my pocket.”
He, however, acknowledged that an object might’ve become lodged in the device via a tiny gap.
Ah, something that Samsung might not have thought of?
“Or maybe it was pieces from the hinge itself breaking loose and working their way up into the screen. I don’t know,” he wrote. “I just know that the screen is broken, and there was no obvious proximate cause for the bulge that broke it.”
But even so, it doesn’t seem to help the phone’s given abilities.
“We’ve seen worries about scratches on expensive phones and debris breaking the keyboard on expensive MacBooks, but a piece of debris distorting the screen on a US$1,980 phone after one day of use feels like it’s on an entirely different level.”
On the other hand, CNBC demonstrated a fault with the display within two days, despite the protective film not having been removed in the first place.
It has to be mentioned that Samsung isn’t exactly a virgin too
As one might recall, Samsung had a similar, yet arguably even worse experience just three years ago when it was reported that several Galaxy Note 7 models had exploded, resulting in 92 reports of overheating Note 7 batteries in the United States. Lest you’re wondering, 26 of them had been reports of burns, while 55 are reports of property damage.
And while this latest experience is nowhere that severe (at the current moment, though one would hope that it’s forever), it does probe the question:
Is the world’s largest handset maker losing its edge?
Or is it simply dabbling with the wrong resources at the wrong time?
“These flexible devices are going to be very fragile for a long time,” he said. “I think we’re years, not months, away from solving this problem,” said Mr Wiens of iFixit.
Although like all things, however, only time will tell.
Now, remember: the Galaxy Fold is set to release on 26 April 2019 in the United States.
It’s expected to be released in Singapore sometime in the second quarter of 2019.
Which, by the way, we’re in the second quarter now.