The Samsung Galaxy Fold was supposed to change smartphone form factors forever, but as we all know by now, the revolution will have to wait. After numerous problems were revealed days after the first batch of phones was sent to reviewers, Samsung was forced to delay the device’s April launch with no firm release date in sight.
Now Samsung CEO DJ Koh has spoken out about the delays in a meeting with media in Seoul, South Korea. As reported by The Independent, Koh said of the launch: “It was embarrassing. I pushed it through before it was ready.” Furthermore:
“I do admit I missed something on the foldable phone, but we are in the process of recovery. At the moment, more than 2,000 devices are being tested right now in all aspects. We defined all the issues. Some isseus we didn’t even think about, but thanks to our reviewers, mass volume testing is ongoing.”
Stephanie Choi, Samsung’s head of global marketing strategy, further elaborated that one of the company’s goals is to push boundaries, and that sometimes that leads to mistakes. “We make what can’t be made, and do what can’t be done,” said Choi. “This is unfortunately part of this process,” she said, referring to the issues with the Galaxy Fold. It’s hard not to make a similar connection with the Note 7’s fiery fiasco.
The Galaxy Fold was created in response to the increasingly iterative designs in the smartphone market; as I’ve written before, once traditional phones go completely bezel-less, there isn’t much you can do to innovate. The smartphone market needed a design shakeup altogether.
But perhaps most interesting is that fact that Samsung may only see folding devices as temporary. Koh said:
“Foldable will last a couple of years. Another form factor is a possibility, but I will say that once 5G and the internet of things are available, we must think rather than smartphones, we must think smart devices. Smartphones may decline but new devices will emerge.”
With 5G, AI, AR, and VR, our everyday devices will be more interconnected than ever. But Koh notes that “Flexible screen technology… is vital for such a future to be realized, whether it comes on an item of clothing, or something that can wrap around a wrist.”
When asked about a release date, Koh simply said “In due course. Give us a bit more time.” Another Samsung Exec recently noted that “most” of the Galaxy Fold’s display problems have been ironed out, and that the phone is ready to hit the market, so hopefully it arrives sooner rather than later.