Samsung has released an official statement that addresses reports of display problems with the upcoming Galaxy Fold. There are two parts to the story, and unfortunately only one of those parts offers real answers.
First, Samsung states that it intends to "thoroughly inspect [the review] units in person," referring to the devices they appeared to have had. The screens are broken without a direct and obvious cause. Our revision unit developed a protrusion that appeared to be the result of something between the screen and the hinge, which finally broke the screen. So we still do not have a clear answer.
Separately, Samsung addressed the problem of screen breaking because reviewers had tried to remove a protective plastic layer that was attached to the screen. Even though it looks like a screen saver and seems like a natural thing to try to eliminate, it should not be. Here is Samsung's statement, complete:
A limited number of Galaxy Fold samples were provided to the media for review. We have received some reports on the main screen in the samples provided. We will thoroughly inspect these units in person to determine the cause of the problem.
Separately, some reviewers reported having removed the top layer of the screen causing screen damage. The main screen of the Galaxy Fold has a top protective layer, which is part of the structure of the screen designed to protect the screen from unintentional scratches. Removing the protective layer or adding adhesives to the main screen can cause damage. We will make sure that this information is clearly sent to our customers.
While the clarity surrounding the screen saver is useful, the lack of a clear answer about what broke our unit and at least another Galaxy Fold screen is troubling. As we noted in the previous article, we returned our broken unit to Samsung for inspection and have been waiting to hear what was the cause of the break.
Reports of problems with the Galaxy Fold came a few days after the review units of the next folding device came out into the world. Since then, several outlets have reported problems with the device, including The Verge that saw our review unit break after just one day of use when (we thought) a piece of debris stayed under of the folding screen and damaged the OLED panel. Before the launch, Samsung said it performed rigorous tests on the Galaxy Fold display, promising that the flexible display "would last more than 200,000 folds and unfold." But the statement does not seem to hold up after use in the real world.
Some of the problems with the screen may have been avoided: several reviewers detached an external "polymer layer" for the screen that looks like a screen saver, but in fact it is a crucial part of the screen. For his credit, Samsung is already warning users not to take off that layer at least in the retail version of T-Mobile, although it seems that a stronger warning is needed. And even if that is the case, it still does not explain all the failed drives, some of which encountered problems even though the owner has not removed the polymer layer.
Since the Galaxy Fold costs $ 1,980, seeing such critical flaws appear before the official launch is not comforting.
The screen failures of the Galaxy Fold are not the worst disaster for Samsung in recent memory, that title still goes to the Galaxy Note 7, that Samsung finally had to fully recover and cancel the production due to the explosion of the batteries . To this day, you still can not bring a Note 7 on a commercial plane.
There is also a lot in the Galaxy Fold. Samsung is trying to win the race to the market with the first conventional folding device and what may be the only high-profile folding phone launched in the United States for quite some time. A slip of this magnitude as soon as it is out the door is the worst case for Samsung here, blackening the eye of the company not only for the Galaxy Fold, but for the entire market of folding phones.
Despite Samsung's statement, it is not clear what the underlying problem was with the Galaxy Fold display, and whether Samsung will be able to fix it in time for the launch, or even at all.