Consumer Electronics

Is Samsung's Galaxy Fold Broken? Will That Undermine Sales?

Samsung recently released its Galaxy Fold, which is a great step forward in a smartphone industry that has been short on innovation recently. Some experts say that the phone has problems almost immediately out of the box. If the problems continue, will they undermine sales of a product that should be the start of a revolution in its industry?

The Galaxy Fold is a 4.6 inch-smartphone that opens up into a 7.3-inch tablet. Samsung believes that means that what people buy as two devices can now become one. However, the challenge is that the product costs almost $2,000, which is a huge sum for even such a clever and useful product. At that price point, it had better be perfect.

Several journalists who tested the phone had problems. According to one review from well-regarded tech site Verge:

Look closely at the picture above (which appeared in the article), and you can see a small bulge right on the crease of my Galaxy Fold review unit. It’s just enough to slightly distort the screen, and I can feel it under my finger. There’s something pressing up against the screen at the hinge, right there in the crease. My best guess is that it’s a piece of debris, something harder than lint for sure. It’s possible that it’s something else, though, like the hinge itself on a defective unit pressing up on the screen.

It’s a distressing thing to discover just two days after receiving my review unit. More distressing is that the bulge eventually pressed sharply enough into the screen to break it. You can see the telltale lines of a broken OLED converging on the spot where the bulge is.

One reason experts believed that people will buy the phone is that it is not an Apple iPhone Xs, which is priced at $999, or more with expanded features. That phone was considered too little an improvement over earlier iPhones, and that dented sales. The Samsung Fold had the opportunity to capitalize on Apple’s errors. If it can break easily, that may be the end of the opportunity.

If the Galaxy Fold has the troubles some reviews found in a very large number of its units, whatever advantages it has will go away. Samsung will have invested what likely was hundreds of millions of dollars in a lemon.

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