Wednesday was not a good day for Samsung. On Monday it delivered the first units of its innovatve flagship device - the Samsung Galaxy Fold, but a couple of days later, at least four of the devices’ inner displays failed.
By “failed”, we mean the display panel is destroyed and content can no longer be viewed on the display. Dieter Bohn of The Verge, and Steve Kovach of CNBC, have experienced failure of the display under normal operation.
The screen on my Galaxy Fold review unit is completely broken and unusable just two days in. Hard to know if this is widespread or not. pic.twitter.com/G0OHj3DQHw— Mark Gurman (@markgurman) April 17, 2019
After one day of use... pic.twitter.com/VjDlJI45C9— Steve Kovach (@stevekovach) April 17, 2019
SUPER YIKES: something happened to my Galaxy Fold screen and caused a bulge. I don’t know how it happened, and I’m waiting to hear back from Samsung. It’s broken. https://t.co/p1014uB01D pic.twitter.com/3FZJkWtSKr— Dieter Bohn (@backlon) April 17, 2019
The other failures happened due to the improper tampering of a protective film over the display. In particular, MKBHD’s unit failed because he attempted to remove this film thinking it was a removable screen protector. While that is technically true, this film isn’t intended to be removed.
PSA: There's a layer that appears to be a screen protector on the Galaxy Fold's display. It's NOT a screen protector. Do NOT remove it.— Marques Brownlee (@MKBHD) April 17, 2019
I got this far peeling it off before the display spazzed and blacked out. Started over with a replacement. pic.twitter.com/ZhEG2Bqulr
Over the past several years, we’ve learned that a protective film that comes pre-installed on a phone is an optional way to protect the display and can be easily peeled off. This is not the case with the first foldable phone in the market.
Samsung didn’t let a day pass before addressing the issue in an official statement to The Verge.
A limited number of early Galaxy Fold samples were provided to media for review. We have received a few reports regarding the main display on the samples provided. We will thoroughly inspect these units in person to determine the cause of the matter.
Separately, a few reviewers reported having removed the top layer of the display causing damage to the screen. The main display on the Galaxy Fold features a top protective layer, which is part of the display structure designed to protect the screen from unintended scratches. Removing the protective layer or adding adhesives to the main display may cause damage. We will ensure this information is clearly delivered to our customers.
Samsung says it will thoroughly investigate the cause of the devices that failed in the hands of the media. At the same time, it reminds us that the protective layer isn’t intended to be removed nor is it intended to support another adhesive layer on top (no third party screen protectors). It will be sure to explicitly relay this information to customers.
Samsung’s foldable display might be far too fragile for it to work in this kind of form factor. This remains to be seen in long-term use since it’s a brand new product. Other Galaxy Fold devices in the hands on the media (including our own) seem to be working just fine. We’ll have to wait until the Fold goes on sale to see if this is truly a widespread issue or just an issue with early batches.