Samsung delays Galaxy Fold smartphone launch after negative reviews

Samsung will delay the retail launch of its Galaxy Fold 5G smartphone for an unspecified period of time.
Samsung Galaxy Fold launch
The delay will negatively impact the revenue of Samsung in coming quarters. Samsung on March 26 said it expects its first quarter earnings to fall short of market expectations as declines in its memory chip prices have widened.

Samsung said it faced weak chip demand and slow demand from its display panels customers. Samsung will reveal its Q1 2019 result on April 30.

The Korea-based consumer electronics giant decided to postpone the launch after some of the smartphone reviewers have discovered problems with the display of the innovative Galaxy Fold smartphone, Reuters reported.

Samsung was aiming to launch Galaxy Fold that will power some of the 5G network as well, on April 26.

Last week, reviewers revealed problems with the 5G smartphone. A handful of technology journalists have reported breaks, bulges and blinking screens. Samsung as of Friday could not identify the root cause of the screen defects.

Samsung sent about 50 units of Galaxy Fold, which will be priced at $1,980, for review to journalists, analysts and bloggers in the United States ahead of a planned April 26 launch.

It was not immediately clear how many of the devices were defective. Four units sent to journalists and a YouTube personality contained problems, according to their posts on Twitter.

“To fully evaluate this feedback and run further internal tests, we have decided to delay the release of the Galaxy Fold. We plan to announce the release date in the coming weeks,” a Samsung spokesperson said on Monday.

Samsung also postponed media events for the device planned for this week in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Samsung has not said how long the delay could be or whether production of the unit has halted completely. Some analysts said the delay was minor compared to the massive recall and production halt that the company endured with its Galaxy Note 7 in 2016.

Samsung said initial findings showed that the screen issues could be associated with impact on exposed areas of the hinges. It said there were instances where substances found inside the device affected the display performance.

Wayne Lam, an analyst with IHS Markit, predicted the issue would likely be resolved within a month.

“We all know that Samsung has a technology that works. It’s likely that this glitch is a problem with mass production and the failure is just in the single digit percentage,” he said.

Samsung has hailed the folding design as the future in a field that has seen few surprises since Apple’s iPhone in 2007. Huawei Technologies has also announced a folding handset, the Mate X.

Samsung was initially planning to begin South Korean and European sales of the unit in May and Chinese sales from an undisclosed date.

AT&T, one of Samsung’s U.S. launch partners for the Galaxy Fold, said the telecom carrier was working to communicate with smartphone customers who pre-ordered the device as soon as possible. AT&T did not disclose the number of pre-orders.