Cost of Samsung’s embarrassing phone fail
Samsung has not had a great run in the past few years with exploding phones and now the postponing of the release of its highly-anticipated Galaxy Fold just days out from the launch.
Reviews from several journalists given early access to the devices revealed issues such as cracked screens and peeling, with some of the users inadvertently removing the conductive plastic films assuming they were the same as the plastic covers that come with most phones.
The phones were supposed to be the answer to the question: how can I have an even bigger phone? Instead Samsung has called in the phones from reviewers and cancelled the official launch today (US time).
The problem comes after Samsung recalled the Galaxy Note 7 phones in 2016 due to batteries that burst into flames or exploded. That's not to mention the Samsung washing machines that were catching fire.
But the communications manager for comparison site Whistleout, Kenny McGilivray, told news.com.au that he expected the issue wouldn't do any damage to Samsung's long term brand and that data from Whistleout showed it.
"Looking at very recently, the last week or two when the issue with the fold came to the fore, there hasn't been any impact on the other Samsung devices," he said.
"Looking back to when the Note7 was recalled, the share of Samsung since that time has increased."
Deloitte in their 2018 Mobile Consumers survey found Australia was dominated by Apple controlling 42 per cent of the market and Samsung with 35 per cent. In 2016 Apple device ownership was at 43 per cent and Samsung at 33 per cent.
Mr McGilivary said the company's quick reaction and that the issue had been stopped before the phones went to the mass market had protected their reputation. However, he said it was telling that the phones were so easily broken.
"It was a fault that was clearly identified and was quite unstable," he said.
"You'd expect there not to be a removable seal, anyone who's going to buy the phone can easily take it off."
Samsung has hit back at some of the claims levelled against the phones, suggesting users may have been responsible for damaging them.
"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," Samsung said in its statement.
"We will take measures to strengthen the display protection. We will also enhance the guidance on care and use of the display including the protective layer so that our customers get the most out of their Galaxy Fold," Samsung said in a separate statement reported in the Australian Financial Review.
Samsung is still offering the $2800 phones on their site for Australian customers willing to take a punt on the chance the problems will b rectified. The phones have already sold out in pre-order units in the United States.
Customers have been told that they'll get an update in two weeks.
Bloomberg is reporting that Samsung had been rushing to get the phone out before other tech companies released their own versions of the foldable phones.
Mr McGilivray told News.com.au that like the Note 7, the Galaxy Fold was not a mass-market phone and consumers could distinguish between phones that snapped or exploded and phones that didn't.
"The mass market devices that are the most popular have been effective and people have enjoyed them and so they've been not been bothered by what's happening," he said.
"For that large set of users they didn't have problems."