Samsung indefinitely delayed its first foldable smartphone just days before pre-orders were scheduled to go live in the UK. The delay followed reports of a number of failures with the pliable display in review units issued to US journalists. As it stands, the Samsung Galaxy Fold does not have a release date.
However, that could change very soon. Samsung-obsessed blog SamMobile believes the Seoul-based company is getting close to announcing a brand-new launch date for the Galaxy Fold.
That's because Samsung recently issued a statement reiterating plans to announce a revised Galaxy Fold in the next few weeks – the second time it has confirmed plans to reveal a new release date in the same month.
You wouldn't be shouting from the rooftops two times within a matter of weeks if you weren't making progress towards securing a new release date. The first time that Samsung told customers that it would announce a new release date was in the official statement that confirmed the delays. The second time it repeated the message was during its most recent earnings call a few days ago.
Samsung still hasn't confirmed exactly how long the delay is likely to be, stating only that it hopes to announce a rescheduled release date in "the coming weeks".
We still don't know exactly what caused the issues with the Samsung Galaxy Fold. However, blog iFixit took apart the Galaxy Fold piece-by-piece and discovered an "alarmingly fragile" hardware design. According to their assessment, gaps in the folding mechanism could present a point of failure for the Galaxy Fold.
As it stands, there is no protection to stop dirt, debris, or lint from the inside of your rucksack, handbag, or pocket worming its way into the mechanism inside that all-important hinge. If the dirt did manage to get stuck between the hinge and the pliable AMOLED screen, it could add stress to the screen – causing it to fail.
According to iFixit, there is a 7mm gap at the top and bottom of the centre of the display which "doesn't seem like a huge deal, but it leaves the display exposed—so should something accidentally enter, it's curtains for the screen."
And it's not like the risk disappears when the Galaxy Fold is folded away, either. When the 7.3-inch AMOLED is closed, the spine at the back of the handset is flanked by two gaps that can allow dirt to accidentally fall into the handset.
In its statement around the delay, Samsung confirmed it was looking to "take measures to strengthen the display protection", which certainly sounds like these gaps could be sealed, or shielded ahead of the next launch date.
Earlier this month, US mobile carrier AT&T confirmed plans to launch the Galaxy Fold to its customers on June 13, 2019. That's not something that Samsung has confirmed, so we'd be sure to take that launch date with a healthy pinch of salt.
Samsung will have to get its skates on if it wants to claim the title as the first foldable to launch worldwide, as arch-rival Huawei Mate X is still on track to launch soon.