Samsung delays launch of 'unusable phone'
TO paraphrase a famous country tune, it appears that Samsung knows when to fold 'em and knows when to hold 'em.
The South Korean tech giant is reportedly postponing the launch of its much-anticipated folding smartphone after a series of embarrassing hardware failures when issued to international media last week.
The Samsung Galaxy Fold, which analysts say could cost as much as $4000 when it reaches Australia, was due to launch in the US this Friday.
But sources told the Wall Street Journal overnight that the company plans to shelve its breakthrough handset until at least next month while it investigates the source of multiple screen malfunctions with the devices.
Several US journalists reported Samsung Galaxy Fold hardware failures within just two days of receiving the device.
Some errors occurred after the users removed what appeared to be a plastic protective film over the phone's folding, 7.3-inch screen. For others, the cause of the malfunction was not as obvious.
Samsung is reportedly investigating whether the smartphone's hinge is behind the issues.
While the company has yet to confirm the US launch delay, it would follow the cancellation of Galaxy Fold events in Hong Kong and Shanghai this week.
The postponement will also likely put the device's local launch in jeopardy, after News Corp last week revealed Australians would have to wait until after the US, UK and Europe to see the world's first folding smartphone.
Samsung Australia had been due to reveal a launch date for the device next week, days after the US launch.
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
Telsyte managing director Foad Fadaghi said the company would likely see "pent-up demand for the Fold" in Australia despite a price likely to "break the $3000 mark".
Some of that demand could be dented by the phone's widespread technical issues though, according to GlobalData service director Emma Mohr-McClune.
She said creating a new form for the smartphone may also have created "new design vulnerabilities" that could worry both buyers and smartphone insurance firms.
"So far we've seen around half a dozen different ways to make smartphones fold and, in my opinion, not one of these pioneer models look rugged enough for public presentation or sale at this time," she said.
"This new foldable design innovation triggered much scepticism from the industry analyst community, from the outset."
Samsung's folding smartphone is due to be followed by the flexible Huawei Mate X in the second half of the year.