Samsung’s delayed folding smartphone is finally ready to be released, the company says. Originally announced in February for an April sale date, the nearly $2,000 Galaxy Fold now will go on sale in Korea on Friday, followed by sales in the United States, France, Germany, and other countries in coming weeks.
The Fold has a 7.3-inch screen called the “Infinity Flex Display” that folds in half like a book. There’s a separate 4.6-inch touchscreen on the exterior that can be used when the larger screen is folded shut. The device will come in 4G and 5G versions and in black and silver colors, Samsung says.
The Fold’s release comes amidst a crowded time of year for the smartphone market, and manufacturers like Samsung are doing everything they can to stand out. Samsung already released its updated Galaxy Note 10 on Aug. 7 and Apple has scheduled an event for Sept. 10 in Cupertino, Calif., where it is expected to announce its annual iPhone updates. The fall is bringing a new crop of 5G compatible phones, like the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G, that can run on the new, much faster wireless network technology.
Attendees at the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona in February raved about the cool looks of the Samsung Galaxy Fold, but weren’t allowed to touch a working model. Then when reviewers got their hands on the folding phone in April, they found several critical problems, including breaking hinges and temperamental screens. By April 22, Samsung was forced to delay the release date indefinitely, in order to “fully evaluate this feedback and run further internal tests.”
The Galaxy Fold model that will go on sale this week has a revised design and construction that Samsung says will eliminate the problems that reviewers encountered in April.
Analysts are not particularly excited about the prospects for folding phones from Samsung, Huawei, and others. The high cost, seeming fragility, and heavy weight will likely appeal only to a small portion of the market. Gartner estimated in April that folding phone sales would total only 30 million units, or 5% of the market, five years from now.
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