Samsung has announced that the release of the Galaxy Fold has been delayed. Given the intense negativity surrounding the bendable smartphone following reviewers’ bad experiences, this is not only a sensible call, but one that needs to happen under the full glare of publicity.
Timothy Martin reports for the Wall Street Journal:
Samsung Electronics Co. is delaying the rollout of its Galaxy Fold smartphone until at least next month, after tech reviewers reported their test devices had malfunctioned.
The Galaxy Fold phone – priced at nearly $2000 and the industry’s first mainstream foldable-screen device – was slated to hit the shelves on Friday. But problems with the phones being used by reviewers have changed those plans, the company said Monday.
Those problems appear to be two-fold. The first appears to be down to the construction of the screen, with a protective layer peeling away under use – assuming that the reviewers didn’t immediately remove this lair on the assumption it was a screen protector. The second is based around the potential deformation of the screen in the arena of the hinge.
Frankly, I’m surprised that these issues were either not apparent in final testing, or not recognised as important, before units were sent to reviewers. Perhaps the Galaxy Fold team were target-fixated on the release date?
In any case, the reputation damage from the review units has already happened. Samsung is now stepping up and confirming the issues, although the idea that a one onto delay will be enough to resolve the issue suggests that the South Korean is erring on the side of optimism. If this is a hardware flaw that goes back to the core design there may be a long wait for a retail-ready Galaxy Fold.
But Samsung should be commended for recognising the issue. It stands in stark contract to another design issue that the geekerati have become battle-scared over. Long time mobile technology evangelist Stefan Constantine on Twitter highlighted the two different approaches
As noted in this week’s Apple Loop digest, the issues around Apple’s three-year battle to have the butterfly keyboard problems eradicated from the MacBook range has not succeed in solving the problem. It has simply annoyed the community and made many wary of buying a new macOS powered laptop. Casey Johnson:
I am stupid for buying another one of these computers, but only as stupid as any of us are for learning to love these dumb tech products on their merits, becoming beholden to the system, and then having a big commitment out of which to dig ourselves (actually not very stupid at all). I’m far more inclined to subscribe to a different argument, which is that Apple is the stupid one for not only trying to reinvent a solution to the extremely solved problem of how to make a working keyboard, but continuing to pretend that, four years and four iterations later, it hasn’t utterly failed. The company declined to comment on the record for this article.
Which approach would you prefer a company to take? Hit the pause button and confirm there are issues, or leave the idea of a major design issue to build up in your audience?