Every single time I think things cannot possibly get any worse for Samsung’s Galaxy Fold, I’m unpleasantly surprised yet again.
I’ve been saying for about a year and a half now that Samsung’s first foldable smartphone would end up being a disaster. That’s right, I started saying it more than a year before the phone was even announced. I’ve explained how and why I knew this so far in advance a few times now, but it boils down to the simple fact that Samsung Mobile is terrible at making first-generation smartphones. The company excels at renovation, not innovation.
Samsung’s early Galaxy S phones were plasticky junk with one of the worst user interfaces in the history of smartphones. Now, they’re industry-leading marvels with gorgeous hardware and lightning-fast software. The company’s early tablets and smartwatches were also horrible, but look at how good they are now. Samsung rushes first-generation products out the door and never does a good job of it. But once the company has had time to refine its designs, they’re fantastic.
That brings us to the debacle that is the Galaxy Fold, a smartphone that was supposed to be released back in April before disaster struck. Now it’s almost August and a new leak might finally reveal the phone’s exact release date. Unfortunately, it’s more bad news for Samsung and its fans.
The Galaxy Fold was never meant to be a smartphone for the masses. It’s an experimental device with a sky-high $2,000 price tag that’s meant only for early adopters willing to spend top dollar on the latest and greatest tech. Okay, maybe not “greatest,” considering what a piece of junk the phone turned out to be when early units started breaking within hours of reaching reviewers’ hands.
Samsung announced recently that it has made a number of key design changes to the phone, and it’s now ready for release. We’re cautiously optimistic. Even if the Galaxy Fold is fixed and it won’t fall apart within hours of reaching customers’ hands, it’s still not a phone you should buy. The design is ugly and thick, there’s a massive notch bitten out of one corner of the main display, and we haven’t seen bezels that big in years.
As is the case with all Samsung Mobile products, the Galaxy Fold line will likely be fantastic once it reaches its third or fourth generation. Right now, not so much.
Samsung will already have a hard enough time convincing people to buy this phone, but a new report from a reliable news site suggests that the company decided to give itself yet another hurdle to overcome. According to South Korean financial news site The Investor, Samsung plans to release the Galaxy Fold during the third week of September, between September 18th and September 20th.
Smartphone launches typically take place on Friday, so September 20th is the most likely release date. Regardless of which of those three days Samsung lands on though, it likely won’t matter. Do you know what else is probably going to happen that week? Yup, Apple will probably release its new iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Max, and iPhone 11R. In other words, there might not be a worse week during the entire year for Samsung to release a new smartphone, let alone a $2,000 flagship phone.
Based on Apple’s iPhone release schedules in the past, September 20th will indeed be the exact day Apple chooses to release its new iPhone 11 lineup. Aside from the iPhone X that was delayed until November, Apple typically chooses the second to last Friday in September to release new iPhone models. That was the case with the iPhone 8 last year, the iPhone 7 the year before, and the iPhone 6 back in 2014. The iPhone 6s launched on the last Friday of September in 2015, but only because the month ended on a Wednesday the following week.
Needless to say, this is bad news for Samsung. We know the Galaxy Fold is a niche phone, but the company still apparently thinks it’s going to sell well in big markets. According to The Investor, Samsung plans to have as many as 30,000 Fold units available at launch in South Korea alone, with as many as 100,000 units expected to ship in South Korea by the end of the year.
This isn’t just a test for Samsung, and the company clearly wants the Galaxy Fold to be a success. Releasing it on the very same day Apple will likely release its new iPhone 11 series is a terrible way to start.