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  1. Samsung claims it has sold 1 million Galaxy Folds From Galaxy Fold to Galaxy Sold Update, 12:52PM ET, December 13th, 2019: After the original publication of this artlce, Samsung has since clarified to Korea’s Yonhap News Agency that it hasn’t actually sold one million Galaxy Fold devices, despite what executive Young Sohn said on stage earlier this week. Yonhap says a company spokesperson “said Sohn may have confused the figure with the company’s initial sales target for the year, emphasizing that sales of the tech firm’s first foldable handset have not reached 1 million units.” The company did not clarify how many Galaxy Fold devices have been sold, but it earlier said that it targeted 500,000 units for this year. Samsung’s first folding phone may have been fraught with a stumbled launch, reliability woes, and a nearly $2,000 price tag, but that hasn’t stopped the company from finding a million people to buy the Galaxy Fold, according to Samsung Electronic’s president Young Sohn. Sohn revealed the stat onstage at TechCrunch’s Disrupt event in Berlin, stating that “there’s a million people that want to use this product at $2,000 each.” He then followed up to clarify that the company claims to have sold 1 million units of the Fold. One million sales isn’t very much compared to the tens of millions of phones that Samsung and Apple move each quarter, but for a device that’s this expensive and this unproven, it’s surprising nonetheless. Plenty of smaller manufacturers struggle to sell a fraction of that many phones even with much lower prices. The Fold officially went on sale in September, months later than originally planned due to numerous devices, including our first review unit, breaking in reviewers’ hands. Samsung canceled its original launch plans and went back to the drawing board, strengthening the phone’s design and revising parts of it to make it less prone to breakage. Other folding phones, such as Huawei’s Mate X, also saw delays in shipping, likely due to concerns about durability and longevity. But that hasn’t stopped others from jumping into the fray, including Motorola, which is planning to release its new folding Razr in January. You can watch the interview with Sohn below. Source: Samsung claims it has sold 1 million Galaxy Folds (The Verge)
  2. Samsung's clamshell foldable design is the future of the Galaxy Fold New ways to bend, hopefully not new ways to break (Image credit: Samsung) Samsung has plenty to say about the future of its devices at Samsung Developer Conference, but its biggest reveal came out in a video showing a new clamshell foldable phone design - which could be the future of the Samsung Galaxy Fold. The video shows the concept was shown transitioning from the old Fold design (with a 'hot dog' centerline fold) to the new design, which took a Samsung Galaxy S10-style standard smartphone and folded it top-to-bottom ('hamburger' fold). We've heard rumors that the Samsung Galaxy Fold 2 could have a clamshell-style square design, but this is clearly a narrowly vertical smartphone in the modern fashion that folds on itself. The rest of the conference focused on broader strategy, including further commitment to foldable devices like the Galaxy Fold, an expansion of its One UI, and even more plans for Bixby, Samsung detailed in a news brief. Folding away the issues After the debacle that has been the Galaxy Fold, it's almost a surprise to see the foldable handset actually on the market. But, a few bumps on the road haven't stopped Samsung. At SDC, Samsung reiterated its commitment to developing foldable devices, and in the news release, Samsung specifically emphasized that it would "continue to explore a range of new form factors in the foldable category." While that could mean larger foldable tablets in the future, the version teased seems to follow smaller devices along the lines of the expected foldable Motorola Razr 4. One UI 2 in more than one place Samsung introduced One UI for its smartphones last year, and it was a major shift in the look and feel of the software powering its devices. As phones have bloomed into monstrosities measuring well over six inches diagonally, Samsung set out to make one handed use easier with One UI. We've had a positive experience using the clean, new interface on Samsung devices like the Galaxy Note 10 Plus. And, with One UI 2, Samsung looks to bring the simplicity and ease of use to tablets, wearables, and other devices like foldables. More love for Bixby Samsung launched the Bixby Marketplace earlier this year, and has seen the number of developers working on Bixby capabilities double in the past six months. Samsung is also trying to make it easier for developers to work on Bixby, adding templates they use a springboard to get a quicker start on making their Bixby Capsules (e.g., abilities). Samsung also aims to make it easier for developers to design their capsules' appearance across different devices, and to give Bixby users easier ways to find new skills. Samsung aims to have Bixby continue to grow alongside the number of developers, and will have it work with even more hardware from mobile to IoT devices. Source: Samsung's clamshell foldable design is the future of the Galaxy Fold (TechRadar)
  3. The new inspection reveals Samsung's additional display safeguards. iFixit pulled its first Galaxy Fold teardown after Samsung scrapped the phone's April launch to improve its durability. Now that the foldable has finally reached stores, though, it's ready for take two. The DIY repair site has posted a teardown for the revised Galaxy Fold that reveals both the known innards and, crucially, the additional protections for that folding screen. The teardown crew noted that Samsung faced a clear challenge trying to safeguard the screen. It could protect some of the obvious entry points for debris that caused so much chaos in April, such as covering a gap in the bezel and plastering the hinges with tape, but there was only so much it could do with all the necessary moving parts. There's a chance debris could still enter the hinge area and affect its functionality, even if the back of the display (which includes "surprisingly rigid" reinforcement) is that much safer. One thing's for sure: the Fold still isn't very repair-friendly. Many components are modular and can be replaced by themselves, but the fragile display and its mechanics are "likely" to wear down and eventually require a costly replacement. A recent endurance test showed that it might not fold as many times as Samsung estimated, perhaps dying after about three years of normal usage. Replacements for the heavily glued-down batteries are difficult, too, and the glass is similarly hard to work with. To put it another way, the $1,980 you'll drop on the Galaxy Fold is more of an initial investment that's likely to deepen if you're determined to keep the phone working for a long time. Source
  4. Samsung’s beleaguered, $2,000 Galaxy Fold foldable smartphone has a new launch date in Korea: Sept. 6. The Galaxy Fold was scheduled to launch in the U.S. in April, but Samsung indefinitely delayed its release after multiple reviewers quickly experienced issues including flickering screens and hinge bulges—though some of the issues were apparently caused by reviewers pulling off a thin plastic screen protector that looked like it was removable packaging material. It was actually critical to the device’s functioning. In July, Samsung announced it had made improvements to the Fold’s design that resolved the screen protector issue and made the device more durable, setting a launch window of September 2019. In a post on the official Samsung blog, the company wrote that the Fold would go on sale in Korea on Friday, though it remained coy about when it would make its way to other markets including the U.S. and Europe: Samsung Electronics today announced the launch of the Galaxy Fold—a completely new category of mobile technology—available in Korea on September 6, followed by select countries including France, Germany, Singapore, U.K., U.S., and more, in Cosmos Black and Space Silver. With a 5G-ready option in select countries, consumers will be able to unfold the future on the fastest network speeds available. However, pre-registration for the phone went live on the Samsung website this week, indicating that the Korean launch is likely to be quickly followed by release elsewhere. In a separate post touting “premier” service for U.S. customers, Samsung wrote that it should be on the U.S. market in “coming weeks.” Luckily for Samsung, despite the months of delays, it is still on track to beat its closest competition: Huawei’s Mate X foldable phone has also faced major delays, with Huawei saying its launch window is now between September to November 2019. Samsung itself has reportedly moved on to a second-generation device that is much more compact than the tablet-sized Fold, according to Bloomberg, and has contracted luxury designer Thom Yorke to make it more stylish than its predecessor. Gizmodo encountered no problems with its own review unit, which we found to be a seriously flawed but also seriously exciting first stab at a foldable handheld device. If you’re still on the fence about whether to bet on a Galaxy Fold, check out our review here for what kind of trade-offs to expect. Source
  5. Samsung details Galaxy Fold fixes, promises re-launch in September Changes include a reinforced display and smaller ingress points. The April launch of Samsung's futuristic foldable phone was cancelled at the last minute after devices started dying in the hands of early reviewers, but Samsung thinks it finally has the Galaxy Fold situation figured out. The company issued a press release late last night detailing the Galaxy Fold relaunch plan, which includes some redesign work and promises a September launch window for "select" markets. The Galaxy Fold had a couple of outstanding issues when it was sent to the press. First, the device shipped with a screen protector-like sticker applied to the display, and while you might think you're supposed to peel this off as part of the unboxing process, peeling off the sticker actually killed the display. Several reviewers accidentally destroyed their devices because this sticker looked exactly like a screen-protector: it didn't cover the front of the device edge to edge, leaving an exposed, visible seam around the perimeter of the display. The second problem was ingress. Many phones today have high ingress ratings to the point where they are water and dust resistant. But the folding hinge design of the Galaxy Fold created massive gaps in the body, to the point where it can collect pocket lint. Reviewers reported debris would enter the back of the device and work its way into the display area, and in some cases this debris would press into the back of the screen and damage it. With all that in mind, Samsung announced the following changes to the Galaxy Fold, after a five month delay: The top protective layer of the Infinity Flex Display has been extended beyond the bezel, making it apparent that it is an integral part of the display structure and not meant to be removed. Galaxy Fold features additional reinforcements to better protect the device from external particles while maintaining its signature foldable experience: The top and bottom of the hinge area have been strengthened with newly added protection caps. Additional metal layers underneath the Infinity Flex Display have been included to reinforce the protection of the display. The space between the hinge and body of Galaxy Fold has been reduced. Samsung also released a collection of renders of the new Galaxy Fold, which we can meticulously compare, pixel by pixel, to the old renders of the Galaxy Fold. From what we can see, that "protection cap" Samsung mentions is a new T-shaped object over top of the hinge. The "additional metal layers underneath the Infinity Flex Display" should make the phone a bit thicker, but it seems like that thickness will be absorbed by the plastic frame around the phone. The new renders show a thicker bevel in the plastic frame, presumably indicating the frame will stick out from the surface of the phone more. The last visible change is in the spine of the phone, which seems to have been redesigned for a smaller ingress point. Samsung doesn't have an exact launch date nailed down yet, saying only that the phone will arrive sometime in September. September is prime iPhone launchin' season, though, so Samsung might struggle to get attention for its Fold fix. Maybe that's by design, though—Samsung's CEO recently called the Galaxy Fold's failed launch "embarrassing," so maybe at this point Samsung would rather just forget about the whole thing. Given the first-gen nature of the device and the sky-high price, it was hard to imagine many people picking up the Galaxy Fold back in April. After this delay and all the reported problems, it seems like even fewer people will be inclined to risk a purchase of the Galaxy Fold. But Samsung doesn't seem fazed—the company has already confirmed it isn't budging on the price and that the phone will still cost $1,980. Source: Samsung details Galaxy Fold fixes, promises re-launch in September (Ars Technica)
  6. Tons of ingress points allow dirt to enter the device and damage the display. It might be delayed for at least a month, but Samsung's futuristic Galaxy Fold has hit the iFixit Teardown table. How exactly did iFixit get its hands on a phone that has never been for sale and has had all its review units recalled? It's probably best not to think too much about it. What matters is that we get to see the insides! Between this teardown and an earlier blog post, iFixit has been building a compelling theory for why the Fold has been dying an early death for some reviewers. The problem, simply, is ingress. While most other smartphones are resistant to the ingress of just about everything, to the point of being watertight, the Galaxy Fold is full of holes. Traditional slab-style smartphones have their displays bonded to a Gorilla Glass panel, which is then glued onto the front of the phone for a water-tight seal. That doesn't work for a foldable display that needs to bend and move, so the Galaxy Fold has a plastic display that rests on top of the phone and is held on only with a thin, plastic bezel that is glued along the edge. These bezels aren't flexible enough to cover the folding area of the phone, though, so they just don't. The plastic bezel stops before the hinge, so the display edge is just exposed to the world, opening a hole into the device. You can actually stick stuff under the display at this point, and if the wrong bit of anything gets stuck under the display, it can push into the back of the display and damage it. To make matters worse, when folded, the flexible display is designed to lift away from the rigid phone body somewhat, providing an ample ingress space for pocket lint and other detritus. If dirt gets behind the display when folded, and then you unfold it, the hinge mechanism can push the dirt into the back of the display, damaging it. The hinge is also an ingress point into the phone. Large gaps along the left and right of the spine allow bits of dirt to enter the phone, but considering this is on the back of the phone, it's probably not as much of a threat to the display as the hole in the front. So far we've seen three Galaxy Folds with lumps under the display. In the initial reports, the Verge's review unit famously had a bit of something go behind the display and destroy it. Then Swiss site Blick had something that "looked and felt like a grain of sand" appear under the display, but eventually it dissapeared. YouTuber Michael Fisher has been the third victim, saying, "A little grain of something found its way beneath my Galaxy Fold display." Fisher had to return his phone before it could be determined if the display would have died. OLED displays are extremely fragile—much more fragile than LCDs—and can't survive when exposed to oxygen or moisture. A thin "encapsulation" layer is the only thing protecting the OLED display from the outside world, and if anything damages this layer, like say, a bit of pocket lint, the display is toast. The second problem with the Galaxy Fold was from people removing the plastic screen protector, which was enough to damage the fragile OLED display. iFixit notes that this screen protector looks very similar to the one pre-installed on devices like the Galaxy S10 and asks if users aren't supposed to remove it, "Why not extend this layer under the bezels to hide it from peel-happy folks like us?" The only explanation we can come up with is that the display protector was a last-second solution slapped onto the devices after they were manufactured. After being told not to remove this layer, iFixit still removed this layer (some temptations are too strong to resist), and sure enough, this tiny bit of stress was enough to kill the display. As for the non-display parts of the phone, the hinge for the Galaxy Fold is an ultra complicated work of art. There are so many folding and moving parts that the hinge is just mesmerizing once the exterior cladding is removed. We can't embed it here, but iFixit has a video of the naked hinge working, and it's a must see. Inside you'll find two batteries, one on the left and right side of the phone, and after that iFixit notes that you're down to "pretty standard-looking Galaxy smartphone parts." Every phone on the iFixit bench gets a repairability score, and the Galaxy Fold gets a meager "2." The site cites the loads of glue used on the backs and batteries as making a repair harder than it needs to be and says the hinge, lack of ingress protection, and fragile display will make repairs more likely in the future. With the Galaxy Fold being delayed at least a month for reworking, we'll have to keep an eye on any changes between this first version and what is eventually released. Will Samsung do something about all the ingress points? Will the screen protector be extended under the bezel so it can't be pulled off? For now, the last official word from Samsung was that it is still investigating what it will do with the Fold and has promised an update in "the coming weeks." Source: iFixit’s Samsung Galaxy Fold teardown reveals how the phone is dying (Ars Technica) Poster's note: The original article contains several image galleries. To view the complete article, please visit the above link.
  7. Samsung hits "pause" on the Galaxy Fold to figure out the display issues. Update: Samsung has made the delay official. In a press release, Samsung confirmed the Wall Street Journal report, saying "While many reviewers shared with us the vast potential they see, some also showed us how the device needs further improvements that could ensure the best possible user experience. To fully evaluate this feedback and run further internal tests, we have decided to delay the release of the Galaxy Fold. We plan to announce the release date in the coming weeks." Samsung's press release even goes into some of the problems discovered with the display so far, saying "Initial findings from the inspection of reported issues on the display showed that they could be associated with impact on the top and bottom exposed areas of the hinge. There was also an instance where substances found inside the device affected the display performance. 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." Why this was only discovered now, and not during testing, is pretty strange. Samsung's admission that it will be tweaking the design of the Galaxy Fold this late into the production is also unprecedented. The theory of the Galaxy Fold launch being rushed to market is looking more plausible with each passing day. Original post: The $2,000 Samsung Galaxy Fold was slated to come out April 26 in the US. It was supposed to be a triumph of Samsung's display technology—a product years in the making that would redefine the smartphone. Instead, it's being delayed. A report from The Wall Street Journal says the phone has been delayed until "at least next month." The report cites "people familiar with the matter" and says that the original launch plans were changed due to "problems with phones being used by reviewers." Samsung was suspiciously protective of the Galaxy Fold in the run-up to launch. It was announced alongside the Galaxy S10 in February, but while the S10 was put on display to be touched and tapped, the Galaxy Fold was only shown in a glass box. It wasn't until last week that people outside of Samsung were finally able to try the Galaxy Fold, when Samsung handed out review units to select members of the press. There were always durability concerns about the folding display, but when devices in the hands of reviewers sometimes lasted a single day before the displays died, the alarm bells started ringing. The report from the Journal says, "The new rollout is expected in the coming weeks, though a firm date has yet to be determined." Apparently Samsung has flagged the current hinge design as one of the issues causing an early death. "Though the company’s internal investigation remains ongoing, the Galaxy Fold phone’s reported issues stem from problems affecting the handset’s hinge and extra pressure applied to the internal screen," the report says. So far Samsung has not responded to the report. At least two Galaxy Fold press events have already been delayed. April 23 and 24 were supposed to be the dates for launches in Hong Kong and Shanghai, but Engadget reports that those press events have been officially cancelled. Samsung has already taken pre-orders for the Galaxy Fold—so many pre-orders the phone is "sold out"—so the company will have to start communicating to customers soon, as they are still expecting that April 26 ship date to happen. Samsung said it has spent six years and over a hundred million dollars to develop the folding display technology in the Galaxy Fold. Late last year the company said this display technology was stolen, though, and sold to competitors in China. With companies like Huawei and Xiaomi also demoing foldable phones now, it would not surprise me to hear that Samsung was trying to rush the Galaxy Fold out the door to keep its title of "first foldable" from a mainstream manufacturer. One of the Galaxy Fold's problems was that there was no clear communication that the screen protector on the front of the display should not be pulled off. Some reviewers removed this front protective layer before their screens died. The launch delay would give Samsung more time to change the in-box messaging instructing users to not remove this protective layer. If the Galaxy Fold delay is only a few weeks, there wouldn't be time to change much more than the box messaging, though. And if there is a more significant problem with the Galaxy Fold display, it would take longer than a few weeks to sort out. Source: After the Galaxy Fold breaks in the hands of reviewers, Samsung delays launch [Updated] (Ars Technica) Poster's note: The original article contains an image gallery. To see it, please visit the above link.
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