The saga of the ill-fated Galaxy Fold continues.
After the much-anticipated foldable phone launched into the wild with delays, terrible reviews, canceled orders, and malfunctioning hardware, Samsung CEO DJ Koh admitted this week that he pushed the maligned phone out before it was ready. The statement is little pittance for Samsung fans, but Koh did not rule out the Galaxy Fold coming to the market in the future.
Samsung initially scheduled the Fold for an April release. Now, having missed that deadline and holding back the Fold indefinitely, Koh has admitted Samsung’s failure. Speaking with a group of journalists in Seoul, Koh conceded that Samsung released the Fold too early.
“It was embarrassing. I pushed it through before it was ready,” said Koh. “I do admit I missed something on the foldable phone, but we are in the process of recovery. At the moment, more than 2,000 devices are being tested right now in all aspects. We defined all the issues. Some issues we didn’t even think about, but thanks to our reviewers, mass volume testing is ongoing.”
The setback of the Fold comes after months of Samsung teasing a foldable mobile device. And the failure comes at a time when the industry is looking for something new in the mobile world. Where other competitors are adding only minimal upgrades to phones, foldable phones may be the next iteration of smartphones. Consumers know this and the manufacturers do, too. Which mobile giant is the first to bring foldable devices to the world is still up in the air.
While Koh’s statement may sound like mere lip service, it sounds like foldable phones will soon be in customers’ hands at some indefinite time in the future.
Samsung’s chase after a foldable phone comes in a rush to beat its competitors to the market. Huawei has long touted its foldable Mate X. The company pushed back its release date which is currently up in the air.
But if the world’s number one and number two phone manufacturers can’t release an accurate timetable, we may be a little premature on a future with foldable phones. One thing holding back production of a durable foldable phone is glass technology. We’ve seen OLED screens that bend and fold before. However, producing a foldable phone with durable glass that doesn’t feature the myriad issues the Fold had is still a ways off. Companies like Corning–whose glass is nearly paper-thin–might be a longterm solution, but even they admit they are still in development.
Depending on one’s point of view, perhaps Samsung’s release was a minor setback. One of Samsung’s mandates over the past few decades has been “change everything” and “do what you can’t.” Yes, they rushed out the phone but a future of foldable technology isn’t that far off. Samsung and Huawei have some big questions looming but will likely lead the way into the next-gen of smartphone technology.