Samsung Electronics Co. will delay the launch of its first foldable smartphone from the planned April 26 debut after reports of screen failures among some review units, a setback for the world’s biggest handset maker.
The Suwon, South Korea-based company said Monday that it would postpone the retail launch of the Galaxy Fold, without giving a new debut date. Several publications, including Bloomberg News, had reported a bevy of problems with test versions of the $1,980 device after only days of use. Samsung had said it would thoroughly investigate the issue, while initially indicating it would stick with the planned date.
“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,” Samsung said in a statement. “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.”
The postponement may help Samsung avoid the deeper troubles of selling consumers faulty devices. The company suffered a major setback in 2016 with the recall of the Note 7 smartphone, which showed a tendency to burst into flames. The episode cost the company billions of dollars in losses and damaged its reputation as it battled Apple Inc. in the premium smartphone market.
Samsung has rebounded since then and was counting on the Galaxy Fold to extend its smartphone dominance while fending off emerging Chinese rivals such as Huawei Technologies Co. The foldable device, unveiled along with the flagship Galaxy S10 model earlier this year, has a 7.3-inch screen that unfolds into a tablet. Pre-orders began in mid April.
The delay is unlikely to have a significant financial impact on the company. Samsung, which spent eight years developing the Galaxy Fold, forecast it would produce at least 1 million units this year, a fraction of its overall shipments. Samsung shares were little changed in Seoul trading on Tuesday.
Huawei and Xiaomi Corp. have also developed their own versions of bendable-screen gadgets and Samsung was pushing to be the first to roll out foldable phones to the masses.