Fold and return call by Samsung

World | REUTERS 24 Apr 2019

Samsung is retrieving all Galaxy Fold samples sent to reviewers to check reports of broken screens a day after it postponed the phone's launch.

The retrieval comes as the world's biggest smartphone maker met with embarrassment ahead of the foldable device's US release on April 26, with a handful of technology journalists reporting breaks, bulges and blinking screens after a day's use.

The South Korean tech giant postponed the launch for an unspecified time while it investigated, adding that initial findings showed the issues could be linked with an impact on exposed areas of the hinges.

But an internal review of hinges used in the Galaxy Fold had not found defects, and in March Samsung released a video of robots folding handsets 200,000 times for a durability test.

Samsung's head of IT and mobile communications, DJ Koh, has said repeatedly that foldables are the future of smartphones.

Although the issue will not hurt Samsung's balance sheet, analysts said the postponement damages efforts to showcase the firm as an innovative first mover.

In some cases reviewers peeled off a layer of film they mistook for a disposable screen protector.

"It's disastrous that Samsung sent samples to reviewers without clear instructions on how to handle the device," said analyst Kim Young Woo at SK Securities.

But a Samsung employee said: "Now we have an opportunity to fix this issue before selling the phones."

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