Samsung’s idea for a folding smartphone hasn’t come to fruition as smoothly as the company hoped—or has it? While the Galaxy Fold’s release was mired by a host of issues, it now appears that things may not be as bad as they seem. A Samsung executive who recently spoke at TechCrunch Disrupt in Berlin commented that the company has sold more than one million units of its folding smartphone so far.
Though one million is paltry compared to the fact that Apple has reportedly sold over 12 million iPhone 11s, it is impressive considering the circumstances. Galaxy Fold retails for more than $2,000 dollars and Samsung has yet to convince the masses that a folding smartphone is really necessary.
The Burn-In initially reported that Samsung’s release of the Galaxy Fold quickly spiraled into a disaster. When media members first got their hands on test units, it became apparent that the device’s build was flawed. This left thousands of phones with damaged screens and even more users frustrated with the experience.
Following the debacle, several major carriers (and eventually Samsung) canceled pre-orders for the new device. Samsung went back to the drawing board and has now released a functional Galaxy Fold that is available to consumers.
At the TechCrunch Disrupt conference, Samsung President Young Sohn said, “I think that the point is we’re selling [a] million of these products. There’s a million people that want to use this product at $2,000.”
It’s unclear if the comment was intentionally made to stir up excitement about the device. Sohn mentioned the figure during an unrelated conversation about growth and innovation at the conference.
Previous estimates from October claimed that Galaxy Fold sales hovered around 500,000. Learning that the number is actually double that is somewhat surprising considering that the folding device is essentially a beta test that is now available to the public.
Forefront of Innovation
The Galaxy Fold boasts an impressive 7.3-inch screen that folds in half for easy storage and transport. After its delayed release, it has gotten mixed reviews. Though it does offer good performance and a sharp-looking screen, it is also highly fragile and the price tag is too lofty for most potential buyers. A CNET test discovered that the phone can only endure about 120,000 folds. While that seems like a lot, an average user could easily reach that threshold in less than two years.
Nonetheless, phone manufacturers are continuing to pursue the foldable model. With Galaxy Fold serving as inspiration (and a roadmap for what not to do) several companies are planning to debut their own folding smartphones.
Motorola’s $1,500 Razr goes on sale in January. The company is attempting to channel the essence of its classic Razr flip phone with a modern-day upgrade. Meanwhile, Huawei and Royole also have folding smartphones available for the Asian market.
It remains to be seen if consumers will be as excited about the trend as phone makers are. However, considering that Samsung has already sold a million units of a highly troubled device, it seems there might be some potential after all.