Samsung is postponing the release of the Galaxy Fold

Not ready to take flight.
Not ready to take flight.
Image: AP Photo/Eric Risberg
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The release of Samsung’s latest device, the Galaxy Fold smartphone that unfurls into a tablet, is being postponed. The device was expected to go on sale April 26.

Last week, multiple reviewers shared that they had experienced problems with the advance units of the Fold they’d been given. Some had removed what looked like a protective layer of plastic over the screen that turned out to be an integral part of the display; others found their displays started flickering off and on after a few days’ use. (Quartz’s review unit has not experienced these issues as of yet.)

The $2,000 device, which had been available for pre-order earlier this month through Samsung and AT&T, was also going to be sold by T-Mobile in the US.

Here is part of the statement Samsung sent Quartz after the delay was first reported by the Wall Street Journal:  

While many reviewers shared with us the vast potential they see, some also showed us how the device needs further improvements that could ensure the best possible user experience. To fully evaluate this feedback and run further internal tests, we have decided to delay the release of the Galaxy Fold. We plan to announce the release date in the coming weeks.

Initial findings from the inspection of reported issues on the display showed that they could be associated with impact on the top and bottom exposed areas of the hinge. There was also an instance where substances found inside the device affected the display performance.

We will take measures to strengthen the display protection. We will also enhance the guidance on care and use of the display including the protective layer so that our customers get the most out of their Galaxy Fold.

The Galaxy Fold is the first of many foldable smartphones expected to hit the market this year. An early setback like this could likely sour customers on the idea of a foldable phone, which always seemed like a difficult concept in the first place. When Quartz previewed Huawei’s forthcoming foldable phone, the Mate X, in February, representatives from the company would not let us fold the phone ourselves—they delicately folded it themselves.

Perhaps these are just early signs that foldable phones should remain in the realm of science fiction, at least for now.