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Home / Tips and Tricks / What Galaxy Fold's break screens mean for the future of foldable phones

What Galaxy Fold's break screens mean for the future of foldable phones



There was little doubt that Samsung Galaxy Fold and other folding units would start in 2019 and beyond would face some growing pains, but for the most part, we assumed they would have to do with dents on the foldable plastic screen and prolonged wear on the seam or fold where the phone bends in half. No one was prepared for a total breakdown of investigation units before the Galaxy Fold's April 26 US sales date, at least by all reviewers I lucky to gain early access to see Fold in action.

In light of last week's reports of breaking the Galaxy Fold screens, the conversation has taken a turn from public excitement when you saw the world's first large collapsible phone, for pointing and worrying. Twitter, Reddit and other social networks have exploded in frenetic dialogue blaming everyone from Samsung to rush Galaxy Fold to the reviewers themselves, two of whom may have hastened the breakdown of their foldable review units by peeling off something that turns out that they would never be stripped.

CNET's Galaxy Fold review unit is undamaged.

Samsung's problem underscores how risky and fragile the concept of a collapsible phone really is. Folding phones represent a new type of device designed to maximize the screen size without expanding the overall size of the device. After using the phone in its opened tablet mode, just click it closed to carry around, with a smaller external screen for less tasks such as tracking your messages, navigating maps, and answering or rejecting calls. Samsung would undoubtedly lead the way, burn a reputation as an innovator in the smartphone's transition to the next big thing.

Now it is not even clear if Samsung should postpone its launch in some countries to deal with the problems. Until Samsung and other brands, constant buyer fears can hang the future of collapsible phones insecure in balance.

Oroen came after four early reviewers of Samsung's collapsible phone posted pictures of their bulging, "broken", "unusable" "flickering" folds, causing a ripple of sensation over social media like Twitter and Reddit. You can even say that Internet is freaking out .

Photos of the damaged phones ranged from a completely black screen to a bubble blade unit and one with part of the screen white and the other half blacked out. It leaves the curious buyers and those who preordered the phone waiting for answers: What went wrong if problems will affect all folding phones or just this early run and where buyers can reverse something happening with the Galaxy Fold.

When you think about breaking telephone parts, your mind will undoubtedly run to the glass screens and support on a premium phone. That's why the cases exist, after all. But on Galaxy Fold, glass is not the screen. It's bodyguard.

The fold uses a horizontal clamshell design in which hard glass halves close like a book to protect a tender plastic screen inside. Samsung also includes a case in the Galaxy Fold box as an extra cover for the glass surface, if you release the phone.

Samsung is aware of the problems and has said it looks serious about the issue. "A limited number of early Galaxy Fold samples were submitted to the media for review," the company said in a statement on Wednesday. "We have received some reports on the main display of the specified samples. We will carefully inspect these units to determine the cause of the case."


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There may be a specific reason why some of the phones were damaged. Two reviewers experienced a total screen error when they removed a thin plastic film running along the Galaxy Fold's screen. There is a narrow gap between this film and the edge of the screen, which has led to confusion about the nature of the film.

It is not immediately apparent whether the plastic layer belongs to the phone or if it is the movie you usually watch on devices to keep the screens dirty and lint-free during shipping and storage.

Bloomberg's Mark Gurman found out hardly that the latter was not the case. He tweeted this about his review unit last week: "The screen of my Galaxy Fold review unit is completely broken and useless just two days in. Hard to know if it is widespread or not."

The YouTube translator Marques "MKBHD" Brownlee had a similar experience after stratifying the layer from the Galaxy Fold review unit.

"PSA: There is a layer that appears to be a screen protector on the Galaxy Fold's screen," tweeted . "It's NOT a screen protector. Don't remove it."

But the protective film is not the only source of Samsung's early problems. CNBC's Todd Haselton experienced the screen flickering on the left side of his review unit. Verge's Dieter Bohn also had problems, with Bohn's screen forming a bulge beneath the surface.

These reports of a wrong Galaxy Fold is a nightmare situation for Samsung, the first major brand to sell a folding phone. Fold, which has a 4.6-inch screen on the outside, a bendable 7.3-inch screen on the inside and a price of nearly $ 1,900, pose a major risk to the technology.

Intensive criticism from the beginning can damage future sales and shake consumer confidence in the concept of foldable phones in general. Galaxy Fold's chance to lead the emerging category may come alive if buyers return to the innovative design or choose a rival model like Huawei's Mate X TCL's upcoming pattern or a rumored foldable phone like Motorola Razr .

As far as we know, Galaxy Fold will still be sold in the US on April 26 with AT & T, T-Mobile and select Samsung Experience stores. It is also available for preorder online. I've reached out to T-Mobile and AT&T is asking for a comment on how they will support Galaxy Fold buyers if something goes wrong.

T-Mobile replied: "We stop options for our customers, please stay up to date." AT&T did not respond to a request for comment.

Samsung replied:

We take all necessary measures to ensure that information about protective layers is clearly delivered to our customers. Materials in the Galaxy Fold box, including the Quick Start Guide, will contain information about the protection layer. Samsung.com will have a dedicated Galaxy Fold FAQ for consumers to learn more about handling the Galaxy Fold, including the protection layer information. Retail representatives and customer care are trained with information about the top layer of protection.

What is this movie layer thingamajiggy that everyone is talking about?

Let's deal with the film layer first. I had received my review unit on Monday morning, then shot an unboxing video and worried that I had forgotten to take off this plastic layer – what would the YouTube viewers say?!

It looks like a paper-tipped plastic plastic covering the 7.3-inch screen of the folding phone is a protective layer that is critical to keeping your phone harmful.

You can see the edges of it stored here on my review unit:

  Galaxie Screen Film

Look carefully and you can see a thin line hugging the screen just beyond the frame. This is the protective layer that Samsung wants to keep in place.


Angela Lang / CNET

OK, so now we are clear: No matter what you do, don't bark back on this movie. It's part of the screen and bad things happen when you remove it.

But again, the protective layer is not the whole story, because two other reviewers, Haselton and Bohn, said they did not remove the film and still had problems that caused the Fold to be unusable. So what is happening?

What is it about the Galaxy Folds screen?

Galaxy Fold has a completely different screen set than any other phone. There is a 4.6-inch exterior screen that is covered with Gorilla Glass – the same as other Galaxy phones such as S10 and S10 Plus ($ 961 on Amazon) . But inside, the screen is made of a plastic material (polymer) that Samsung calls its Infinity Flex Display.

Samsung created this with a new process and specific glue to cope with the bending and bending of the screen without breaking. The protective layer is supposed to remain in place to prevent damage to the screen below – this is what actually causes your "screen" to light up. Without the hardness of the glass to cover the delicate screen, Folden is more vulnerable, something that has become apparent.


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Is there anything different about the review phones?

Yes. Examiner received early production models. This means that these are not the final review units and may be prone to some problems that Samsung may have the opportunity to fix before Fold reaches the buyer's hands.

For example, I learned that my review unit is an unlocked European version that does not support US services such as Bixby Voice, Samsung Health and Samsung Pay. Similarly, I was warned that the call quality could be compromised because the phone is not optimized for American bands.

While I fully test this review unit by Galaxy Fold, I keep a rating until I get the final production model CNET ordered.


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Has Samsung said you shouldn't remove the movie?

It is not clear if Samsung thoroughly informed every reviewer who received a phone call protection screen. There was no instruction in my box – no literature at all – in fact – but no other indication, like a pull tab, that you should remove it.

However, I did almost anyway. As a reviewer, I like to experience the phone as "clean" as possible. This means that everything I can peel off will come from. I emailed Samsung for more information about this warehouse on Tuesday. A spokesman replied, "Galaxy Fold is made with a special protective layer. It's not a screen protector – don't try to remove it."

The company further developed its position:

"Some reviewers reported having removed the top The screen on the screen causes damage to the screen. The main display of the Galaxy Fold has one top protection layer included in the display structure to protect the screen from accidental scratches Remove the protective layer or add adhesive to the main display We can ensure that this information is clearly delivered to our customers. "

Samsung also added this statement:

" The protective layer Part of the display structure to protect the screen from accidental scratches, the Galaxy Fold's main screen is made with a new, advanced polymer layer and adhesive that is flexible and tough to withstand repeated folding functions, as the main display is made of polymer, protecting the extra protective layer. is in place to protect you from the impact, it is built into the display, why it int e should be removed by force Consumers who notice that the protective layer is not integrated on the screen should contact Samsung Customer Care at 1-800-SAMSUNG as soon as possible to avoid further damage to the display. "

Desmond Smith, director of creative content and a tech evangelist at T-Mobile, tweeted that the carrier's final production models will come with a warning on the loop that crosses the Galaxy Fold's screen:

Men scrubbing of Fold's screen bearings is not the only problem

When you remove the plastic film caused a problem for some, it is not entirely clear what the protective film does or how the removal is related to the screen's behavior. Remember that two of the reviewers kept the protection. that a piece of debris may have been placed under the screen to create the bulge he felt and a slight distortion on the surface of the fold.

Meanwhile, Haselton observed a persistent screen flicker over the left half of the screen. each side, working in concert to form a single power source, I am not an electrical or chemical engineer, but I wonder if it can indicate If you have a battery problem, hopefully we will all find out in one way or another.

In any case, Galaxy Fold's risky design has created some inconsistencies that can damage its early product phones and its reputation.

Why are flexible plastic screens in the first place?

Right now, the glass does not bend so well. It's something that Corning – the creator of Gorilla Glass, covering most advanced phones – works on . Don't expect flexible glass to save other folding phones, though.

If I ordered Galaxy Fold, should I cancel it?

If you are really interested in owning Galaxy Fold, I suggest the wait and see approach. We do not know how widespread the problem is, and whether it affects a poor rate or the entire range. I'm not worried, but let's see what is developing. My own review unit has not experienced screen aberrations at this time, but I am watching some issues.

The reported issues make it hit the Galaxy Fold unusable, but so far, reviewers have not set any real dangerous behavior, as opposed to reports after some batteries in the battered Galaxy Note 7 have been overheated and sometimes burned.


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Samsung does not want another PR disaster on its hands. I am convinced it would fully refund a broken Galaxy Fold if it happened to you. Whatever we will hopefully get a more concrete explanation before the Galaxy Fold officially goes on sale on April 26.

What does Samsung do to fix the problem?

Samsung is well aware of the problems and works with reviewers to replace broken units to investigate what went wrong (see above statements).

In addition, we have asked Samsung what it feels like if buyers can feel confident that their Folds will not break if Samsung will give a refund if people cancel their order and how Samsung will clarify which future Fold owners should and should not do to protect their phones.

So far, Samsung has not addressed these specific issues, but has said that Fold owners should contact Samsung's customer care (1-800-SAMSUNG) if they experience any problems. We hope to get some more details before the folding units go for sale. Meanwhile, it is how it goes with CNET Galaxy Fold so far .

Originally published April 17 and updated frequently.


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