Samsung has indefinitely delayed the release of its $1,980 Galaxy Fold smartphone, and asked for review samples loaned to reporters to be returned.
The move comes just three days ahead of the folding smartphone's planned launch date of April 26, and soon after a number of technology journalists reported their loaned Galaxy Fold units had broken after a day of use.
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A couple of these review units appear to have failed after reporters peeled off what they thought was a disposable screen protector, but was in fact integral to the Fold's flexible display. Removing it caused the screen to break. This issue could potentially be fixed by including a clear warning in the phone's packaging to state the protector should not be removed.
However, one reviewers claims the protector of their Galaxy Fold began to peel off of its own accord, and others reported different failures with the screens of their phones. One developed a bulge under the plastic display, which after two days caused it to fail; another reported the left side of the phone's folding screen to flicker and fail.
Samsung said in a statement published on April 23: "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."
The world's largest phone maker continued: "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."
Having examined the issues reported by journalists, Samsung said: "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."
Unlike most modern smartphones, the Galaxy Fold features no ingress protection at all. This means it is not water resistant, but could also be susceptible to damage caused by fine pieces of dirt and other debris entering via the hinge mechanism.
Samsung says it plans to "strengthen the display protection" and "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."An insider with direct knowledge of Samsung's plans told Reuters the manufacturer is working to retrieve all Galaxy Fold samples leant to journalists. Due to a lack of embargo when these units were handed out, some publications have already published their reviews of the Fold, while consumers who have spent $1,980 wait to see when their device might arrive.
This incident comes three years after Samsung was forced to withdraw the Galaxy Note 7 from sale and permanently stop production after a number of the phones exploded due to a battery malfunction.