Next week, Samsung's Galaxy Fold will become the first phone with a foldable display to arrive into consumers' homes. For years, companies have teased foldable displays, so the technology finally arriving to market is a very big deal. Since this is a first-generation device, there are plenty of limitations and there are also bound to be issues. Apparently, one of the first major problems has manifested itself prior to the retail release, and it comes as no surprise that it has to do with the device's display.
While it is uncertain at this point how many units are out in the wild and how many are affected, various reviewers online have started reporting that their units are suffering from various problems when it comes to the foldable display. There are currently three problems, one which is caused by removing the protective layer on the screen, the other is caused by potentially some debris getting underneath the display, and the last one is display flicker without any rhyme or reason.
Some phone manufacturers ship their devices with screen protectors, which is convenient if you like having that kind of protection. Samsung recently did this with its Galaxy S10 line and many also thought that it had done this with the Galaxy Fold. Apparently, the thin plastic layer on the display, which you can see in the image above, can be peeled off and is not a screen protector, but instead is part of the actual screen. Peeling this up it can make the display quite weak, which leads to bleeding and cracks. The incident isn't isolated, with many other reviewers peeling the display. Naturally, if you tamper with a part of the phone, it's expected to have problems.
But some reviewers are also having flickering issues with the display, which is occurring without the screen being tampered with. You can see the example in the video above from CNBC Tech Editor Steve Kovach, and this is happening after only a couple of days of use.
Lastly, is the problem with debris potentially getting under the screen. While it is uncertain how this is happening, The Verge's Dieter Bohn has reported that his Galaxy Fold is having a different kind of display issue when compared to the rest. Apparently, on his unit, there is a small chunk of something, which is causing a protrusion on the screen. Bohn doesn't know exactly what's happening, stating "something got in another one of the little gaps somewhere else. Or maybe it was pieces from the hinge itself breaking loose and working their way up into the screen. I don’t know." Samsung has once again remained silent on the issue when questioned but did issue a replacement device.
If the display has problems, Samsung might want to push back the release of the device and fix it. As of right now, consumers have only put down money for pre-orders. The devices that are in the wild are a small set meant for reviewers. So far, the damage is minor when compared to how large it could become when it releases thousands to customers next week. The firm should be well aware of how dangerous a situation like this could be, as it experienced a more severe issue in the past with exploding batteries on its Galaxy Note7.
Prior to the release of the Galaxy Fold, there were already concerns about the display. While it did not address the display itself, it touted that its custom hinge for the device could withstand up to 200,000 folds or around five years of use. Currently, Samsung has been approached by various outlets but has not released a comment about the issues. If Samsung is going to go forward with this device, at minimum, it might want to make things clearer for consumers so that the clear plastic cover of the screen isn't removed. For those who have not ordered a Galaxy Fold, maybe it would be better to wait for future iterations.
Video source: CNBC