Samsung apparently thinks it has a handle on what caused premature failures of its Galaxy Fold smartphone, but whether a retail release is still in the cards remains to be seen. For now, however, it is said that Samsung has completed a redesign of the previously ill-fated smartphone.
It may still be an ill-fated device, or it could end up a belated success story. That depends on whether (A) Samsung decides to relaunch the Galaxy Fold to retail, and (B) if the redesigned model truly is fixed.
The Galaxy Fold was unveiled back in February amid much hype and anticipation. At the time, Samsung talked about "creating a new mobile category" with the Galaxy Fold, a unique handset that folds into a smartphone with a cover display, and opens into a mini tablet.
"Today, Samsung is writing the next chapter in mobile innovation history by changing what’s possible in a smartphone. Galaxy Fold introduces a completely new category that unlocks new capabilities never seen before with our Infinity Flex Display," DJ Koh, President and CEO of IT & Mobile Communications Division, Samsung Electronics, stated at the time. "We created Galaxy Fold for those that want to experience what a premium foldable device can do, beyond the limitations of a traditional smartphone."
Unfortunately, the Galaxy Fold got off to a rocky start. Several reviewers reported issues with their Galaxy Fold samples, as the foldable display was prone to fail. Part of the problem was a protective film that came pre-applied. This was not intended to be removed, but that was not clear initially. It was also discovered in a teardown by iFixIt that there were gaps in sections of the phone that could potentially allow dirt and debris to sneak in and ultimately damage the panel.
Samsung ended up yanking the Galaxy Fold from retail and delaying it indefinitely. Fast forward to today and people are who supposedly familiar with the matter have told Bloomberg that Samsung has finished a two-month redesign of the Galaxy Fold.
The sources also said that Samsung is in the final stages of production, but could not say when the device will actually land on retail shelves for a second time.
Samsung has a tough decision to make. At this point, it might want to cut its losses and move on from the Galaxy Fold, at least for now. The company is expected to unveil its Galaxy Note 10 phone in August, so the timing for a Galaxy Fold relaunch is arguably less than ideal, assuming it is even ready for prime time. Samsung also has to be sure that the redesigned version is truly fixed—the last thing it needs is another botched roll out, as it experienced with its fire-prone Galaxy Note 7 a few years ago.