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Foldgate: The Samsung Galaxy Fold Has a Serious Problem With The Foldable Display

By: Vishal Mathur

Last Updated: April 18, 2019, 10:03 IST

Foldgate: The Samsung Galaxy Fold Has a Serious Problem With The Foldable Display

Reviewers in the US have reported that the foldable displays became unusable within a couple of days.

Samsung’s $1,980 (around Rs 1,37,600) foldable smartphone has a serious problem. The OLED foldable display, the party piece and the much-touted future of smartphones, is breaking within a couple of days of use. Just as the pre-orders for the phone have started in the US, the review devices shared with the media in that part of the world have started to break. The luxury foldable smartphone clearly hasn’t started its journey on an auspicious note.

There are multiple social media posts and write-ups by media in the US illustrating the developing issues with their Galaxy Fold review units. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, CNBC’s Steve Kovach, The Verge’s Dieter Bohn and popular YouTube tech reviewer Marques Brownlee have all reported that the foldable displays on their Samsung Galaxy Fold are broken.

Samsung has responded to the issues, suggesting they will thoroughly inspect these faltering units. “A limited number of early Galaxy Fold samples were provided to media for review. We have received a few reports regarding the main display on the samples provided. We will thoroughly inspect these units in person to determine the cause of the matter,” says Samsung.

Bohn shared photos of his Galaxy Fold review device, which had now developed a bulge where the display of Galaxy Fold creases. “There’s something pressing up against the screen at the hinge, right there in the crease. My best guess is that it’s a piece of debris, something harder than lint for sure. It’s possible that it’s something else, though, like the hinge itself on a defective unit pressing up on the screen,” he says.

The company also goes on to add that, “Separately, a few reviewers reported having removed the top layer of the display causing damage to the screen. The main display on the Galaxy Fold features a top protective layer, which is part of the display structure designed to protect the screen from unintended scratches. Removing the protective layer or adding adhesives to the main display may cause damage. We will ensure this information is clearly delivered to our customers.”

Gurman and Brownlee have both reported that their displays have blacked out, in parts or completely, after they removed the protective layer on the display—which looks like a removable screen protector. “The phone comes with this protective layer/film. Samsung says you are not supposed to remove it. I removed it, not knowing you’re not supposed to (consumers won’t know either). It appeared removable in the left corner, so I took it off. I believe this contributed to the problem,” says Gurman.

However, Bohn had not removed the protective layer, and yet the display failed.

Nevertheless, it is a bit perplexing that Samsung didn’t get this message across clearly in the first go itself, that the protective layer as it is called, isn’t a screen protector and is not to be removed. And as Bohn points out in a tweet subsequently, “There’s still no clear answer as to what broke on the screens where users didn’t try to peel off that protective layer.”

The Samsung Galaxy Fold has a 7.3-inch foldable AMOLED display, also known as the Infinity Flex Display. Incidentally, the Samsung Galaxy Fold will also go on sale in the US later this month with AT&T and T-Mobile, and it’ll be important for Samsung to clear up these issues before the phone goes on sale.