Samsung was hoping for a few days of Great Reviews for their Galaxy Fold when suddenly it all blew up in their Face
Our Patently Mobile IP blog has been covering Samsung's folding and scrollable display patents for smartphones for years and certainly well ahead of the general media ever catching on. So it was a bit of buzz to finally see Samsung introduce their Galaxy Fold back in February. It's a first generation device that will have growing pains to be sure. Huawei's Mate X will be out later this year – and that's really a fantastic design that is certain to create more industry buzz, even though for now it's only for the elite who won't blink at the well over $2,000 price tag.
Most smartphone players have patents and plans to bring a foldable smartphone to market over the next few years. Even Apple has a few patents that point to such a device, like these (01, 02 & 03).
There's a lot of interest out there for folding smartphones. By the end of the day the Unbox Therapy Galaxy Fold review video will have racked up 7.5 million hits if not higher. Below is the review of the galaxy fold by host Lewis Hilsenteger.
Clearly the Galaxy Fold has a nasty crease in the phone's fold right out of the box once the film covering the display is removed as noted in the screenshot below – ugh! Though to be fair, once Lewis ran a few YouTube videos on the phone, the crease seemed to have zero affect. The videos on the display were smooth and sharp without being distracted by the crease you see when the screen goes black.
Obviously Unbox Therapy got the royal treatment from Samsung, as they were sent every color the phone is available in. At US$2000 a pop, that's a nice gift. That aside, the colors are embarrassingly horrible. Maybe it's the video, I don't know, but promoting these colors is seen as a negative, not a plus in my opinion. Perhaps you see it differently.
Late yesterday Samsung posted a super silly over-hyped promotional video as presented below. It shows Samsung hand delivering the Galaxy Fold to their favorite Vloggers. None of these "chosen" reviewers had problems with their demo units. Then again, what may have happened behind the scenes could be a whole different story.
On the flip side, CNBC's Steve Kovach had a completely different experience with his Galaxy Fold. Things didn't magically go right for Kovach. His video tweet below shows us a damaged jittery display.
After one day of use... pic.twitter.com/VjDlJI45C9— Steve Kovach (@stevekovach) April 17, 2019
Although one bad smartphone unit doesn't mean it's a wide spread problem, The Verge's review went out of their way to show us that the problem with the Galaxy Fold display wasn't an isolated incident. One of the worst examples from The Verge is presented below.
You could see a round of photos of the Galaxy Fold with nicks and glitches in the phone's display here. In all honesty, The Verge's report wasn't a review except to point out every problem they could find. It was more like someone scratching their nails on a chalkboard. But the message was clear: Don't buy the Galaxy Fold.
Bloomberg's reviewer also had similar problems.
First impressions are important, and the bad reviews rolling out due to terrible experiences just knifed the Galaxy Fold's chances of being seen in a positive light. Who would want to shell out US$2,000 or close to $2,700 Canadian on a phone that comes out of the box with a creased display and one that might not even work properly?
While you want to applaud the many years of R&D Samsung put behind the Galaxy Fold, it was spoiled by a series of bad smartphone units that should have never left the factory floor and given to influential reviewers. What the hell was this last-mile Samsung team thinking of? Samsung went out of their way to make it right for reviewers and it blew up in their face. Samsung can't backstep a mess like this. It's done. It's public. It's a marketing nightmare.
At the end of the day, the first edition of Galaxy Fold is a mess with miles to go before it's really ready for prime time. The folding phone holds a lot of promise if the industry could find solutions to do away with display creasing.
Although creases were expected over time, it was a little surprising to see that the problem starts right out of the box. Unbox Therapy acknowledged this problem but quickly excused it outright. When it's a free phone, I guess you can excuse it.
We'll have to wait and see if Huawei's Mate X fares any better on this front being that they're using folding displays that are manufactured by BOE. There could be more bad news for Samsung if Huawei's folding phone display delivers a superior experience with less of a crease.
The day started with Patently Apple posting a report titled "ASML, the World's Largest Chip Machinery Manufacturer, Accuses Samsung of Corporate Espionage." The day ends with Samsung's Galaxy Fold being assassinated by key reviewers in techland. It's clearly a bad day for Samsung.
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