Samsung broke hearts all over America. It announced a real, big-screen foldable phone. The company put out a release date, teased us with marketing images and slapped on a price that many would pay for the revolutionary gadget. Older adults thought that finally someone was paying attention to their blurry eyesight and inability to tap out text on keyboards tinier than their thumbs.
With rollout only days away, foldable phones were sent out to reviewers across the country. And they broke, and flickered, and sprouted curious bumps. Samsung called a halt to the release.
Samsung is the world’s biggest phone maker. The company nails it when it’s improving iterations of other developers’ phones, but this isn’t its first flop trying to unveil a first generation product of its own. Anyone remember the Galaxy Note 7 that could spontaneously burst into flames? At least the Galaxy Fold hasn’t hurt anyone.
The Fold has hard glass halves that close like a book to protect an inner 7.3” plastic display inside. The clamshell device comes with a hard-shell case to protect the exterior of the $1,980 gadget, a price tag that dwarfs even Apple’s latest iteration of the popular iPhone. It’s the first bendable phone to (almost) come to market.
But it does appear to be a “piece of junk” with “shoddy workmanship and horrible build quality,” according to reviewer Zach Epstein. First came the mysterious film covering the inner screen. Several reviewers noted that it looked just like the thin film that often covers the glass of new phones as a screen protector and peeled it off. Mistake. Their phones immediately went dead, even the one where the user lifted off just an inch or two.
The phone of CNBC’s Todd Haselton began flickering on the left side of the inner screen. Reviewer Dieter Bohn of The Verge noticed a bulge beneath the screen of his model, and YouTube reviewer Michael “Mr. Mobile” Fisher found a bump under his Fold screen.