Samsung is reported to have delayed launch events for its troubled, roughly $2,000 Galaxy Fold phone in Hong Kong and Shanghai, based on reporting by SamMobile and Engadget Chinese editor-in-chief Richard Lai.
According to SamMobile, “someone claiming to be familiar with the matter” said that Samsung is blaming venues involved for the delays, which was backed up by a frequent tipster.
Lai’s post asserted no such information, merely saying that two events on April 23 and 24 were canceled. (Gizmodo has reached out to Samsung for confirmation, and we’ll update this post if we hear back.)
Samsung Galaxy Fold launch events in Hong Kong and Shanghai have been postponed. They were originally scheduled for this Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.
— Richard Lai (@richardlai) April 21, 2019
The Galaxy Fold — one of the first smartphones with a foldable display to reach the market — has been plagued by early reviews focusing in large part on the thing more or less immediately breaking.
Reporters at CNBC, the Verge, and Bloomberg have all experienced issues ranging from hinge bulges and flickering screens to a protective film on the phone that apparently looks the removable type common in packaging, but that actually absolutely should not be removed, because it may break the phone.
After one day of use... pic.twitter.com/VjDlJI45C9
— Steve Kovach (@stevekovach) April 17, 2019
The phone comes with this protective layer/film. Samsung says you are not supposed to remove it. I removed it, not knowing you’re not supposed to (consumers won’t know either). It appeared removable in the left corner, so I took it off. I believe this contributed to the problem. pic.twitter.com/fU646D2zpY
— Mark Gurman (@markgurman) April 17, 2019
Samsung Fold team right now: pic.twitter.com/bAeIvGrOKq
— Marques Brownlee (@MKBHD) April 17, 2019
Samsung told Gizmodo that it was working to “determine the cause” of the technical issues, adding that the protective-film removal was a separate problem that would result in warnings being “clearly delivered to our customers.”
There’s a lot riding on this phone—as CNN noted, Samsung said it sold every available unit on its own website (though it’s not clear how many were up for sale) and said last week it will proceed with an April 26 launch in the U.S. as scheduled.
CNN separately reported that not moving the timeline there “potentially suggests” Samsung believes the review issues are “isolated incidents,” while deploying the new foldable technology as a standalone device rather than a feature on its flagship line lowers the risk of something like the Galaxy Note 7 flaming-battery debacle happening again.
Expectations might also be somewhat flexible given that the phone is planned for limited release and to an extent is a novelty device (albeit one that costs two grand).
It is, of course, entirely possible that the reported postponements have nothing to do with the Galaxy Fold’s apparent fragility and the phone is still cruising towards the market as planned. Competitors, however, are moving somewhat more slowly, with Huawei’s Mate X not planned to launch until later this year, the Wall Street Journal reported.