The sad saga of the Samsung Galaxy Fold continues with the news that the company has apparently decided to take all its handset samples back from reviewers.
We've already heard that the launch of the Fold is delayed indefinitely while it sorts out the faults reported by multiple people, including issues with the top layer of the display (that some people peeled off, thinking it was a screen protector) and breakage.
The phone was supposed to launch on the 26th – this Friday – but that's not happening now, and all existing review handsets will be taken back in-house according to Reuters.
Unsurprisingly, parallels have been drawn with the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, which famously had to be recalled after developing a nasty habit of exploding. However, it's fair to say that the Galaxy Fold issue is nowhere near as bad, was partly caused by user error (combined with lack of clear instructions), and looks much more survivable for the phone and brand.
Of course, any fault on a near-£2,000 device is a big deal, and the reported issues have likely put some people off preordering the phone, which had already sold out in the US.
However, the screen issues have caused something of a Streisand Effect, whereby loads of people who were completely unaware of bendy phones have now heard of the Galaxy Fold. If Samsung plays it like they did the Note 7, ensuring the next phone they brought out is an absolute stonker (the Galaxy S8, in that case), the Fold could actually benefit from this debacle.
As an anonymous Samsung employee puts it:
"On the bright side, we have an opportunity to nail down this issue and fix it before selling the phones to a massive audience, so they won’t have [the] same complaints."
The company wasn't planning to sell a huge amount of Folds in the first place -- it was apparently aiming for around a million, which is less than half of one per cent of Samsung's yearly phone sales.
It'll be interesting to see whether the phone ends up bouncing back higher as a result of these teething problems, or at least makes everyone aware that folding phones are a thing now. [MacRumors]