As the release date for the Samsung Galaxy Fold loomed, review units were being shipped to various media outlets for testing. Journalist, YouTubers, and other reviewers were anxious to get their hands on Samsung’s new and nearly $2000 phone. Though many were excited about the Fold’s impending release, others had their suspicions that the hardware had its vulnerabilities.
The Folding Screen
First, let’s discuss the display of the Galaxy Fold. As its name implies, the display on this phone can fold in various orientations. To accomplish this Samsung couldn’t use a traditional glass display especially the extremely hard and scratch resistant forms of Gorilla glass. Instead, the Fold uses a very flexible plastic display. Plastic is a highly versatile material, it is highly shock absorbent, can flex considerably without breaking, and it doesn’t shatter when dropped. Plastic is however incredibly soft. Its softness makes the material naturally prone to scratches and dings on its surface. As you can imagine this is not an ideal material for displays intended for constant and everyday use, but Samsung did so anyway.
The hinge of the Galaxy Fold sort-of functions like the spine of a book. However, unlike a book, there are gaps on both sides of that “spine.” These gaps can allow dirt and debris in and wedge themselves between the fragile display. While testing and an official response from Samsung is needed to understand why displays were failing adequately, it is widely believed debris was the cause.
Due to the number of review units failing and undeniable need to conduct further stress testing, Samsung has indefinitely delayed the release of the Galaxy Fold. Samsung said in a statement that they were going to investigate what exactly was breaking their units and are going to reinforce the screens. When the Galaxy Fold is eventually released, it will likely have undergone some hardware revisions and might mechanically function differently. Samsung needs to be commended on taking the appropriate action and not selling a defective product. However, Samsung also needs to be condemned for attempting to rush a product to market. Make no mistake, though the Galaxy fold has been in development for years, the “finished product” was still a prototype, and Samsung knew it would fail at some point.