Samsung could be preparing to re-launch the Galaxy Fold, with shipments potentially resuming within the next month, according to a Korean news site. Supposedly the device is being tested on mobile field networks now, with the goal of releasing the release schedule later this month and actually launching the phone in June. Network interwork tests typically take 4-6 weeks, which would put us at the tail end of the month.
A delay of just two months would actually be excellent for Samsung if it’s managed to solve the fundamental problems with the Fold. According to Yonhap News:
Samsung Electronics has reportedly solved problems such as screen shield problems and influx of foreign substances in the hinge, which were raised in last month’s American review.
In the early version, the screen shield is not attached to the end of the bezel so that it can be torn off with a nail. Samsung Electronics has decided to put the end of the shield into the body so that the user can not remove the shield.
The hinge area is also expected to be minimized. In the past, the upper and lower portions of the hinge were not blocked by the frame like the existing smart phone, resulting in minute gaps, foreign substances entering the gap, and a possibility of the display being impacted.
These are the improvements that were generally recommended by sites like iFixit, though the question remains whether Samsung will manage to resolve the problems altogether. It can be quite difficult to design a product with sufficient flexion to fold properly while sealing all gaps and hinges to make certain material can’t enter the device inappropriately. That’s what hit the Galaxy Fold last time around, and hopefully, the company found a way to fix these issues.
With the Galaxy Note 7, the question was whether Samsung had designed a faulty product that would ultimately hurt its sales or reputation. The Galaxy Fold is playing for different stakes. Launching a failed high-end concept phone ultimately won’t matter to the company’s mainstream Galaxy products. Foldable devices are only expected to account for a fraction of the market over the next few years. What Samsung is playing for, ultimately, is a reputation as an innovator and a company that can move the entire phone industry in a new direction. With wearables slow to take off and the smartphone market saturated, companies are looking for new products that will spark updates and upgrades. 5G is currently being hyped left, right, and center, but 5G is also an uncertain bet, with slow rollout schedules and large parts of nations like the US that won’t receive service for years, if they ever do.
The ability to make your phone’s screen larger at will is the kind of form factor shift that could send smartphone sales shooting upwards if costs can be brought down and the technology scaled up. While I’m honestly dubious on this, as I’ve said, companies are trying to find the Next Big Thing that’ll attract customers. Recalling the Samsung Galaxy Fold on the eve of the launch was the right thing to do — hopefully whoever made that decision won’t put the product back in market until it’s completely ready, no matter how long it takes. Beating Huawei to market is less important, in our opinion, than having a strong device.
- iFixit: The Samsung Galaxy Fold is ‘Alarmingly Fragile’
- Samsung Retrieving All Galaxy Fold Samples, Exposed Hinges May Cause Problems
- Samsung Forces iFixit to Pull Galaxy Fold Teardown