Having pushed back the launch of its Galaxy Fold folding smartphone, Samsung is now supposedly retrieving all units it sent reviewers — without issuing replacements. While there’s disagreement on whether the original units were meant to be returned after 10 days, it seems things aren’t quite playing out as expected.
This comes after early reviewers noted that the $1,980 handset suffered some serious screen problems.
Some reviewers accidentally peeled off a layer of film on the phone, which they thought was a screen protector. “It’s disastrous that Samsung sent samples to reviewers without clear instructions on how to handle the device,” SK Securities analyst Kim Young-woo told Reuters.
I do appreciate a good conspiracy theory, but (pulling back the curtain here) U.S. press who got a Fold agreed upfront to return it after 10 days. Difference being the expectation at the time was you’re returning an open market unit to be swapped for a U.S. unit. Not anymore lol.
— Andrew Martonik (@andrewmartonik) April 23, 2019
“On the bright side, we have an opportunity to nail down this issue and fix it before selling the phones to a massive audience, so they won’t have same complaints,” an anonymous Samsung employee was quoted as saying.
In a statement, Samsung this week said:
“While many reviewers shared with us the vast potential they see, some also showed us how the device needs further improvements that could ensure the best possible user experience. 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 double standard?
This recall isn’t nearly as disastrous as the recall of the exploding Galaxy Note 7 in 2016. However, it’s certainly not a good look for Samsung. Reviewers of the device already noted that the company’s execution did not live up to excitement about the folding phone concept.
Ultimately, the biggest take-home message from all of this isn’t just that Samsung screwed up. It’s about the differing standard Apple faces versus any other equipment manufacturer. As right as people were to criticize Apple for ditching the AirPower charging mat, can you imagine the uproar if Apple was to have run into such big problems with, say, the iPhone X? Of course, for Samsung this will largely go underreported by anyone who isn’t a hardcore follower of the smartphone industry.
Hopefully the company will solve its folding phone problem soon.