SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Some of Samsung’s new, almost $2,000 folding phones appear to be breaking after just a couple of days. Now, the company is delaying the phone’s release, and hasn’t specified when it will be available in the U.S.
Journalists who received the phones to review before the public launch said the Galaxy Fold screen started flickering and turning black before completely fizzling out. Two journalists said they removed a thin, protective layer from the screens that they thought was supposed to come off, but was meant to stay.
But reporters from The Verge and CNBC said they left that layer on and their screens still broke. A CNBC video shows the left side of the inside screen intermittently flashing, and the right side as unresponsive.
The phone was “completely unusable” after two days, CNBC reporter Todd Haselton wrote .
Patrick Moorhead, chief analyst for Austin-based Moor Insights & Strategy, is one of 50 people in the world testing the phone right now.
“I think it’s important for people to realize that this is a folding phone — a phone that folds. This is like the tech version of landing someone on the moon.”
Moorhead said he thinks Samsung will be forced to delay the launch of the phone.
The long-anticipated folding phone is about the size of a standard smartphone when folded, but can open up to the size of a small tablet. The phone is designed to work whether closed or open; when open, the single screen display is bisected by a crease.
Samsung promises the screen can withstand being opened and closed 200,000 times, or 100 times a day for five years.
The Galaxy Fold was supposed to go on sale April 26 in the U.S. for $1,980, making it one of the most expensive phones anywhere — particularly if it isn’t as durable as promised.
Samsung acknowledged it had heard reports of the screens breaking and said it would “thoroughly inspect these units in person to determine the cause of the matter.”
A company spokesman also said it would make it clear that the top protective layer is necessary to prevent scratches.
The company had a disastrous rollout of a new phone in 2016 with the Galaxy Note 7, which Samsung eventually recalled because its batteries were catching on fire.