This is crucial weekend for Samsung, while a large junk of the world was celebrating Easter Samsung executives in Korea and the USA were hunkered down trying to work out what went wrong with their premium Samsung Fold smartphone a device that literally fell apart in the hands of some of the worlds key reviewers.
While Samsung engineers are trying to work out what went wrong and whether the identified problems are terminal, Samsung marketing staff have called on spin partners Edelman to try and minimise the impact especially as the Company has faced this type of situation before with the global failure of the Samsung Note 7 battery
Samsung has issued this description following the failure: “The protective layer is part of the display structure designed to protect the screen from unintended scratches. The main display of the Galaxy Fold is made with a new, advanced polymer layer and adhesive that is flexible and tough enough to endure repeated folding actions. Because the main display is made with polymer, the extra protective layer is in place to guard against impact. It’s built into the display which is why it should not be removed by force.”
Apparently the folding screen has to be plastic because glass doesn’t fold, and it is easily scratched so we added an extra layer of plastic to protect the important plastic. And because that extra layer of plastic is attached to, well, plastic, removing it can disrupt the fragile electronics underneath, and that would be really really bad.
The Fold was scheduled to go on sale in the USA this week which is why Samsung had started to work with global media hoping to get a favourable spin on their new hero device which is tipped to sell in Australia for over $3,500.
Reviewers from The Verge, CNBC and Bloomberg, as well as notable YouTuber Marques Brownlee had been given a review unit, Australian reviewers were omitted from the first wave.
Shortly afterwards as the wrappings literally were peeled off the device it all went pear-shaped with these reviewers reporting major display issues on the tablet screen rendering the devices useless.
Others reported total failure of the unit.
Samsung went into control mode issuing a statement claiming it had received “a few reports” of damage to the main display and would “thoroughly inspect these units in person to determine the cause of the matter”.
But it’s a significant setback to the company’s hopes of wowing the world with what, at first glance, was a very impressive feat of engineering.
The statement went on to claim that some reviewers removed the top layer of the display causing damage to the screen. Removing the protective layer or adding adhesives to the main display may cause damage. We will ensure this information is clearly delivered to our customers.”
This was a stalling smoke screen because right now Samsung cannot afford to have another failure especially as the global media is watching the fall out from the Samsung Fold fiasco.
The failure is an ominous sign for the smartphone industry, which had been hoping the technology would provide its next growth spurt instead the Australian launch which is scheduled for the 6th of May is facing the real possibility of being delayed or even worse not going ahead at all.
Samsung is expected to release the Galaxy Fold on April 26 in the U.S making it the most expensive smartphone ever launched by Samsung and even more expensive iPhone.
The device’s party trick? was intended to be that it folded open to reveal a 7.3-inch display, only slightly smaller than Apple’s iPad Mini tablet.
But Bloomberg News reporter Mark Gurman found that defects quickly emerged on the larger screen before it ultimately failed completely.
He had removed the plastic film resembling the temporary protective layer that users typically peel off their new smartphones. Others had similar issues.
Either way, it looks like a major design flaw that competitors such as Huawei will use to try and discredit the Korean technology powerhouse.
Their unit is set to launch soon and at this stage no reviewers have been allowed to handle their device.
Bloomberg wrote ‘If the issue with the Galaxy Fold proves to be widespread, its implications could be more severe. Not so much financially, because the company only expects to sell one million of the handsets this year – a rounding error compared with the 292 million smartphones it sold in 2018.
The bigger risk is that a bungled launch of a product that isn’t ready poisons consumer appetite for all foldable handsets’.