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Galaxy Fold is now set for a September rollout

July 26,2019
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Images of the upgraded Galaxy Fold device [SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS]
It’s official. The Samsung Galaxy Fold is rolling out in September.

After months of silence, the company announced Thursday that the long-awaited device is in final testing. The introduction in September will happen in “select markets,” which the company did not specify. An exact date for first sales was also not provided.

The price tag will be unchanged from the earlier failed launch, at $1,980 in the United States.

The product was originally scheduled to be released in the United States in April, but its introduction was indefinitely postponed after several U.S. tech reviewers reported faults related to the folding display.

In some cases, the problem was related to a thin polymer film that covers the screen. Some reviewers peeled it off, damaging the phone. A later investigation by Samsung Electronics found that particulate matter had found its way inside the unit through the area around the hinges.

In Thursday’s statement, Samsung listed adjustments it had made to the device. The changes were largely in line with reports that circulated after the announcement of the delay.

The protective layer, or the polymer film, was extended beyond the bezel, meaning its ends were tucked inside the device so that it appears more like an integral part of the phone and less like a temporary cover. Polymer films replace the tempered glass used in conventional bar-shaped smartphones, as they are better for folding devices.

To make the device less open to the outside environment, protection caps were added to both ends of the hinge. The gap between the two halves of the Galaxy Fold was made narrower as well. An additional layer of metal was added beneath the display to reinforce protection.

While reworking the phone, Samsung was able to optimize more apps for the foldable screen for a better user experience.

Equipped with a 4.6-inch display on the outer front, the Galaxy Fold can open up to a 7.3-inch tablet. The screen can be divided into three sections so that three apps can be used at once. Apps designed for conventional smartphones should be redesigned for the foldable phone experience.

“All of us at Samsung appreciate the support and patience we’ve received from Galaxy fans all over the world. Galaxy Fold is a device long in the making, and we’re proud to share it with the world and look forward to bringing it to consumers,” the company said in a statement.

Earlier this year, Samsung and Huawei both made announcements on the introduction of foldable phones. Huawei also postponed the official introduction of its Mate X from June to September. Huawei sources told U.S. media outlets CNBC and The Wall Street Journal that the company was “cautious” after seeing what happened to Samsung’s Galaxy Fold.

Samsung Electronics President Koh Dong-jin in charge of the smartphone business said in an interview with The Independent this month that he had pushed the release before it was ready. During the few months of silence, U.S. retailer partners called off preorders.

As neither company has offered a concrete rollout date, it remains to be seen which takes the “world’s first” title. U.S. and Chinese tech media outlets have recently reported that Mate X may go on sale in August.

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