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Some launch events put on hold for Samsung Galaxy Fold

Apr 23,2019
Samsung Electronics postponed Galaxy Fold launch events scheduled for this week following reports from the United States last week of faulty folding inner displays.

The events, at which the company was planning to introduce the device and offer hands-on trials for local media, were supposed to take place today in Hong Kong and tomorrow in Shanghai. Similar sessions were originally scheduled to happen this week in Singapore and several other countries in Europe.

All were put on hold.

Samsung has not given an official reason for the delay, but the most plausible is to find out if the folding screens are malfunctioning.

Last week, several tech reviewers in the United States reported that their Galaxy Fold device developed major problems in the inner screen, such as bulges and screens that flickered and died. Some had removed a protective layer from the display that Samsung later explained is a permanent component and should not be peeled off.

The company collected the faulty devices and replaced them with new test phones.

“We had all of the collected test phones shipped to Korea over the weekend for investigation - both models that had the protective layer removed and ones that didn’t,” said a spokesman.

The accounts from U.S. tech reviewers spurred a score of articles questioning whether the Galaxy Fold was truly ready for release. The Wall Street Journal declined to review the phone at all.

The decision to postpone global launch events fueled speculation Monday among local media that the company would be considering delaying the device’s official launch date as well.

The Galaxy Fold is set to start U.S. sales this Friday. Domestic sales were supposed to take off next month, without a fixed date, while May 3 was the launch day reserved for 15 countries in Europe. There were no other launch schedules for other countries.

Samsung declined to comment on the possibility of postponing releases.

Apart from the United States, Samsung held a Galaxy Fold event in London last week and handed out test phones to reviewers there as well. There haven’t been any reported problems with them, according to the company.

Last Thursday, after tweets from the U.S. reviewers went viral, Samsung Electronics’ shares dropped 3 percent to 45,600 won ($40). In Monday’s trading, shares were up 0.11 percent from Friday’s closing price to reach 45,350 won.

Local analysts say the impact on the company won’t be critical.

“The Galaxy Fold is a first-generation product—its buyers will be early adapters and experimental customers, not the general public. Among analysts, nobody expected it to be perfect,” said Kwon Sung-ryul, an analyst at DB Financial Investment.

“The real deal will be Samsung’s second foldable phone,” he continued. “Even that model won’t be perfect but it won’t have as many faults as this one.”

BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]