Samsung’s hotly anticipated Galaxy Fold smartphone is set to be released this Friday, and when it is it will become the first widely available handset with a foldable display. That’s the good news. The bad news is that so far, we have every indication that the Galaxy Fold is a piece of junk. When companies send review units out to bloggers, it’s troubling to see even one or two devices fail. In the case of the Galaxy Fold, we have now lost count of how many bloggers have said that their review units broke. This is obviously hugely troubling considering the only reason to buy a $2,000 Galaxy Fold is for the folding screen, and the folding screen is what has been breaking.
Beyond the apparent shoddy craftsmanship and horrible build quality, the Galaxy Fold has even more issues. First, there’s a thin plastic film stuck on the screen that looks like one of the cheap screen protectors that come pre-applied on many Android phones. It turns out that this is no screen protector though, and if you peel it off your display will break. That’s right, it’s a $2,000 phone with a display layer that doesn’t extend all the way to the edges and peels right off. As a cherry on top, the design itself is terrible, even if you disregard the fact that Galaxy Fold units are breaking left and right. It’s too thick when folded closed, there’s a gap between the two sides that makes it even thicker, the inner and outer displays have huge, unsightly bezels around them, and there’s a massive notch chomped out of the corner of the main display. Ugh.
The good news, if there’s any to be found in this huge mess, is that Samsung is already working on next-generation foldable devices that will apparently feature much better designs — though at this point, things can’t get much worse.
As we first explained 7 months ago and then reiterated last week when it became even more obvious that we were correct, the Galaxy Fold was destined to be a disaster. Simply put, Samsung is terrible at making first-generation products. The company’s early smartphones were cheap iPhone knockoffs with terrible build quality and even worse performance, and its early tablets were… well… cheap iPad knockoffs with terrible build quality and even worse performance. Today, however, Samsung’s phones and tablets are among the best in the business in terms of both design and performance.
Samsung is all about refinement. The company rushes out first-generation products and they’re pretty much always complete junk. After a few iterations, however, the company gets its act together. At this point you would pretty much have to be insane to buy a first-gen Samsung device, let alone something as new and complex as a foldable smartphone.
We’ve warned you enough at this point that it’s safe to say you’ll save your $2,000 and skip the Galaxy Fold. That’s bad news if you’ve been looking forward to foldable phones, but thankfully we have some good news to share as well. According to a report from Korean-language industry news site The Bell, Samsung is already hard at work on next-generation foldable devices.
Details are scarce at this point in time, but there are a few key takeaways from the report. First, it looks like Samsung might be working on a new foldable smartphone as well as a new foldable tablet, because the display sizes mentioned by The Bell are 8 inches and 13 inches. A device with an 8-inch folding display would almost certainly be a new smartphone. After all, the Galaxy Fold already has a 7.3-inch screen — take away the big bezels that surround it and Samsung wouldn’t even have to make a second-gen model much larger in order to fit in an 8-inch screen. At 13 inches, the other device in question would almost certainly be a tablet.
The other big takeaway from the report is that Samsung is working on new designs that sound very cool compared to the Galaxy Fold. The upcoming foldable Huawei Mate X already has a much better design than the Galaxy Fold, as does the folding phone we saw Xiaomi unveil recently. The 8-inch device Samsung is making reportedly has what the report refers to as a “G type” folding screen; it will apparently have two outer pieces that fold inward on top of the third piece at the center. The larger 13-inch devices has what the report calls an “S type” foldable screen, which folds closed like the letter “S.”
Unfortunately, the report offers nothing as far as when these next-generation foldable Samsung devices might be released.