The Samsung Galaxy Fold will be hitting U.S. retailers by the end of the month. The phone will be the first foldable smartphone to be released to the public. However, it seems a very dark cloud looms over this enterprise and it looks likely that it could spell disaster for the Samsung Galaxy Fold.
A number of reviewers were sent early production models of the Galaxy Fold this week. A few of them have disconcerting news for all those of us who were looking forward to the release of the device.
As many as four reviewers have posted pictures of their main displays going out of whack. Steve Kovach of CNBC, Mark Gurman of Bloomberg, Dieter Bohn of The Verge and YouTuber MKBHD, have all experienced issues with the Galaxy Fold’s inner display. But wait, Samsung may not be at fault for this. Or at least complete fault.
After one day of use… pic.twitter.com/VjDlJI45C9
— Steve Kovach (@stevekovach) April 17, 2019
Let’s take a crack at analyzing all the things that are going really really wrong for the Samsung Galaxy Fold, the world’s first foldable phone.
What is the Galaxy Fold’s display made of?
Let’s look at the materials used for the Fold’s display. The outer display is protected by Corning Gorilla glass. However, the inner main display is another story. Samsung used a plastic polymer material for its main display. They call it the Infinity Flex Display. Now, Samsung created this display specifically for the Samsung Galaxy Fold so that the screen would crease in the middle.
The protective plastic film on top of the screen in the inner main display had been applied to protect the screen from damage. Now, there weren’t any visual indications that may have led anyone to remove the plastic film, but a few reviewers did. Samsung later clarified that they wanted users to keep the plastic on.
So what’s wrong with the display?
The reviewers claim that their Folds were unusable within two days of getting them. Mark Gurman, Steve Kovach, and Marques Brownlee, also known as MKBHD, both reported flickering screens as well as broken screens. Dieter Bohn reported a slight bulge on the crease of his screen. This is definitely not a good sign for Samsung, especially with the big launch coming through at the end of this month.
The screen on my Galaxy Fold review unit is completely broken and unusable just two days in. Hard to know if this is widespread or not. pic.twitter.com/G0OHj3DQHw
— Mark Gurman (@markgurman) April 17, 2019
There could be a number of reasons for this malfunction. However, there is one theory that has gained some sort of traction. There is a protective screen over the main inner display. It appears that Samsung had not warned the reviewers beforehand to not remove the protective layer. However, some reviewers claimed that their screens were faulty even without removing the layer.
SUPER YIKES: something happened to my Galaxy Fold screen and caused a bulge. I don’t know how it happened, and I’m waiting to hear back from Samsung. It’s broken. https://t.co/p1014uB01D pic.twitter.com/3FZJkWtSKr
— Dieter Bohn (@backlon) April 17, 2019
Another theory claims that the bulge in Deiter Bohn’s Fold may be caused by a battery problem. There are two batteries encased in the Galaxy Fold that work in tandem to power the phone. So, it is possible that the battery may have overheated and caused the screen to bulge. That bulge eventually broke the screen and rendered it unusable.
Dieter Bohn claims that it is possible that debris may have collected between the screen and the protective film. However, the bulge doesn’t exactly clarify this theory.
What does this mean for Samsung?
This is definitely not good news for the Korean giant. The Galaxy Fold is supposed to be one of their biggest launches this year. In addition to being the first foldable phone in the world, it is also supposed to be one of the first few phones in the market that is compatible with 5G networks. This dent in the public image of the Galaxy Fold could prove disastrous for Samsung.
PSA: There's a layer that appears to be a screen protector on the Galaxy Fold's display. It's NOT a screen protector. Do NOT remove it.
I got this far peeling it off before the display spazzed and blacked out. Started over with a replacement. pic.twitter.com/ZhEG2Bqulr
— Marques Brownlee (@MKBHD) April 17, 2019
The company has replaced some of the faulty models currently with the reviewers. In any case, this doesn’t look good at all. This wasn’t an isolated incident and the size of the catastrophe is alarming. However, if we must find a silver lining in here, at least the phones didn’t catch fire.
No impact on Fold’s release, though!
Samsung has moved to somehow distance itself from the damage, claiming that users are responsible for taking care of the device, including not removing the protective layer on top of the display.
With two sides of the story, it’s hard to tell who is at fault here. As much as we would like to sail in the same bought as Samsung, the fact that some of the affected units still had the protective film on makes us want to switch sides. In the end, we’ve chosen to play safe and thus warn you against making any pre-orders for the device until all is good, you know, just to be safe.
If anything, it might prove to be a wiser decision canceling the pre-order you already placed for the Fold.