Samsung says it will launch its hotly anticipated foldable smartphone tomorrow, months after faulty screens forced an embarrassing delay. It’s the first major ‘redesign’ of the smartphone form in over a decade.
The world’s largest smartphone manufacturer spent nearly eight years developing the Galaxy Fold, a smartphone that folds in half.. Samsung had to delay the April launch after reviewers reported screen problems within days of use.
Samsung was hoping to spark demand for its high-end phones with the launch of the US$2,000 device, with profits plunging in recent quarters in the face of a weakened market and strong competition from Chinese rivals.
Samsung says it will release the smartphone in South Korea tomorrow, followed by including the US, Germany and France, then others.
The firm will also offer a program to Galaxy Fold users under which the company would cover 70% of the cost of screen repair once within a year of use.
Samsung Electronics shares closed up 3.6% in Seoul.
The Galaxy Fold has been widely promoted as the “world’s first foldable smartphone”, while rivals such as China’s Huawei have been racing to bring similar devices to market.
Samsung has a history of humiliating setbacks with major products, most notably a worldwide recall of its Galaxy Note 7 devices in 2016 over exploding batteries, which hammered its reputation.
The firm has also been caught up in the intensifying trade war between Japan and South Korea stemming from World War II disputes.
The row saw Tokyo impose tough restrictions on exports crucial to South Korean tech giants in July, and Samsung vice chairman Lee Jae-yong – who called the situation a “crisis” – has visited Tokyo to secure materials. Lee is currently facing a retrial over his role in a massive corruption scandal that brought down former president Park Geun-hye.
He was initially jailed for five years in 2017 on multiple convictions including bribery, which was reduced to a suspended sentence on appeal, only for the Supreme Court to order a retrial last month.
Source: Agence France-Presse