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Samsung delays launch of $2,000 folding phone as screens break

A model holds a Samsung Galaxy Fold smart phone to her face, during a media preview event in London in April 2019. Samsung is pushing back this week's planned public launch of its highly anticipated folding phone after reports that reviewers' phones were breaking. The company had been planning to release the Galaxy Fold on Friday. Instead, it says it will to run more tests and announce a new launch date in the coming weeks. [Associated PREss]
Published Apr. 22

SAN FRANCISCO — Samsung is pushing back this week's planned public launch of its highly anticipated, $2,000 folding phone after reports that reviewers' phones were breaking.

The company had been planning to release the Galaxy Fold on Friday, but instead it will now run more tests and announce a new launch date in the "coming weeks."

The delay is a setback for Samsung and for the smartphone market generally, which had been pinning some hopes on the folding phone to catalyze innovation in the industry. The Galaxy Fold, with its $1,980 price tag, was not intended to be a mass market hit, but many hoped it would hint at a new wave of smartphone advances — an area that has been lagging in recent years.

But device reviewers quickly found issue with the Galaxy Fold, which is about the size of an average smartphone when folded, and the size of a small tablet when its two sides are pulled apart.

Several journalists reported the inside screens flickering, freezing and finally dying on their test units within the first couple days. Two reviewers mistakenly removed an outer plastic layer that was meant to stay on and reported scratches on the screen afterward.

Samsung confirmed last week that the layer was meant to stay on. But that didn't explain why many reviewers saw the phone's inside screens break.

An early inspection showed there could be issues when pressure is put on the exposed areas of the hinges that open and close the phone, Samsung said in a statement announcing the launch delay Monday. It also found an issue where "substances found inside the device affected the display performance."

Samsung said it will to find ways to better protect the screens and explain to people that the outside protective layer must stay on.

Other test phones seemed to still be working well, and so far holding up to the Samsung pledge that the phone can be unfolded about 200,000 times in its life.

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