Remember when Samsung rushed out a replacement Note 7 that also blew up?
A day after U.S. reviewers got their Samsung Galaxy Fold units, the internet was flooded with videos of wrecked foldable smartphones.
Screens flickered, cracked, and bulged — a veritable PR nightmare for Samsung. While we didn’t have any problems with Gizmodo’s review unit, enough people did that after a few days, Samsung decided to delay the launch to address the issues.
That was the right call. Remember the fallout from Note 7's exploding batteries? Preorders for the Galaxy Fold already sold out, and additional bad press from faulty units sent to consumers willing to shell out over a thousand per phone could’ve been fatal to the future of foldable smartphones.
But just three weeks later, Korean outlet Yonhap News is reporting Samsung has already fixed the problems.
The culprit behind many of the Galaxy Fold issues was that some reviewers tore off a protective layer, mistaking it for that film you peel off whenever you unbox a new phone. Yonhap says Samsung has since decided to eliminate all confusion and extend that protective film layer underneath the bezel so you’re not tempted to pick at it.
Other display-related problems were supposedly caused by dust and debris getting caught in tiny gaps caused by the Fold’s hinge. For that, Yonhap reports Samsung will minimise the hinge area.
The report also says the company is currently testing the “fixed” Galaxy Fold prototypes on South Korea’s three domestic carriers. Depending on the results, the company is expected to announce a release schedule in a few weeks and launch the phones sometime next month.
That’s... a really aggressive timeline for some serious problems. Gizmodo reached out to Samsung to see if it would confirm any of these details, but Samsung declined to comment.
Last Thursday, DJ Koh, who heads Samsung’s mobile division, reportedly told The Korea Herald that, “We will reach a conclusion in a couple of days [on the launch].”
In response to a question about whether the Fold could launch in May, Koh responded with a coy, “We will not be too late.” However, that seems to directly contradict other reports last week where Samsung seemed to have no idea when preorders would ship in letters sent out to customers.
That’s great if Samsung truly managed to get genuine, permanent fixes in such a short time. But, it’s also a bit fishy. Like, if the fixes were so simple, why didn’t Samsung take the extra month of testing and R&D in the first place? Probably because, as my colleague Alex Cranz noted, it was more concerned with being first out the gate with a foldable phone.
FTC regulations currently require companies to ship preordered devices within a specified time frame or let customers cancel orders.
As we reported last week, that new deadline would be May 31 for the Galaxy Fold, which could also explain the rush to ship. The idea being that canceled orders have a better chance of being un-canceled the faster this thing gets out the door.
Let’s just hope this time Samsung isn’t repeating history.