Samsung’s first luxury foldable phone, the Samsung Galaxy Fold, has been improved and is ready to be launched in select markets from September.
The announcement comes five months after Samsung’s pricey phone was recalled before ever reaching consumers, after it faced reliability setbacks.
The Galaxy Fold is a smartphone with a flexible display that folds onto itself from 0- to 180-degrees and can be used folded or unfolded. It is one of the first smartphones with a foldable screen to enter the mainstream market.
After making its first public appearance at Mobile World Congress in February, Samsung said the Galaxy Fold is "a completely new mobile category" and uses "multiple new technologies and materials to create a display that is flexible enough to fold”.
The device, which will cost $1 980 (R28 100), was set to be released in the US in April, but the company decided to delay its launch, after it was found by a selection of early device reviewers to be faulty, breaking after only a few days of use.
Mark Gurman from Bloomberg tweeted in April: "The screen on my Galaxy Fold review unit is completely broken and unusable just two days in. Hard to know if this is widespread or not."
This glitch was confirmed by several other reviewers, and one of the problems found was that reviewers had removed a protective layer of film that was stuck to the screen, as pulling this film off is common practice when buying a new smartphone.
Since then, Samsung says it has made improvements to Galaxy Fold, to ensure consumers have the best possible experience.
“Samsung has taken the time to fully evaluate the product design, make necessary improvements and run rigorous tests to validate the changes we’ve made on the Samsung Galaxy Fold,” says the phone maker in a statement.
According to Samsung, these design and construction improvements include extending the top protective layer of the Infinity Flex Display beyond the bezel, making it apparent it is an integral part of the display structure and not meant to be removed.
The new Galaxy Fold features additional reinforcements to better protect the device from external particles while maintaining its signature foldable experience. These include:
- The top and bottom of the hinge area have been strengthened with newly added protection caps.
- Additional metal layers underneath the Infinity Flex Display have been included to reinforce the protection of the display.
- In addition, the space between the hinge and body of Galaxy Fold has been reduced.
Along with these improvements, Samsung says it has also been continuously working to improve the overall Galaxy Fold user experience, including optimising more apps and services for its foldable UXdesign.
“Samsung is conducting final product tests to make Galaxy Fold available to consumers starting from September in select markets. Availability details will be shared as we get closer to the launch,” notes the phone-maker.
At Mobile World Congress, Huawei also announced its first foldable phone, the Mate X, a 5G-enabled foldable phone that opens seamlessly from a 6.6-inch screen to an 8-inch tablet.
The phone, which has been rumoured to also be released in September, will set consumers back roughly EUR2 299 (R36 500).
According to ICT experts, the flexible screen trend is expected to gain momentum, as manufacturers release tablets, notebooks, laptops and TVs in the new form factor.
"As the designers perfect the foldable phone, we will start seeing more innovative ideas around this concept," says Ernst Wittmann, global account director MEA and country manager Southern Africa of phone manufacturer TCL Communications.