When the Galaxy Fold’s launch was delayed indefinitely due to durability concerns, many thought Samsung’s $2,000 bendable phone was dead in the water. Some folks like Apple enthusiast John Gruber even proclaimed that the Fold “is never going to ship and everyone knows it.”
But now, after some improvements and design changes, the Galaxy Fold is back and looking for buyers. The Fold even has an official launch (relaunch?) window slated for sometime this September (precise timing is still TBA). So what’s changed on the second take of the Galaxy Fold?
Here’s what Samsung says it has changed on the new version of the Galaxy Fold:
The top protective layer of the Infinity Flex Display has been extended beyond the bezel, making it apparent that it is an integral part of the display structure and not meant to be removed.
Galaxy Fold features additional reinforcements to better protect the device from external particles while maintaining its signature foldable experience.
The top and bottom of the hinge area have been strengthened with newly added protection caps. Additional metal layers underneath the Infinity Flex Display have been included to reinforce the protection of the display. The space between the hinge and body of Galaxy Fold has been reduced.
The first major difference is what Samsung did to the Fold’s protective polymer film. Previously, the edges of the film extended to the edge of the screen (as seen in the picture below), but a small gap remained between the film and the bezel around the Fold’s display. This gave the film the appearance of a removable screen protector when, in fact, it was a critical component for maintaining the screen’s integrity.
Unfortunately, because early review units came in a box that didn’t contain a warning label telling users not to peel off the polymer film, some Galaxy Fold units were damaged when reviewers removed that polymer layer. So one big change on the revamped Galaxy Fold is that its protective polymer layer now covers the entire screen, with the edges of the film resting beneath the phone’s bezels, away from any potential prying fingers.
However, the more significant change on the new and improved Fold is how Samsung covered up the small gaps between the Fold’s screen and its hinge. Before launch, the Fold featured small openings above and below its hinge that potentially allowed foreign materials like sand or dirt to work their way inside the device and damage Samsung’s foldable display. This may be what happened to the Verge’s review unit.
That gap appears to be significantly smaller now, which could shore up the Fold’s second most obvious structural weakness. Samsung says it also reinforced the hinge with new protective caps, and added metal layers beneath the Fold’s screen to increase the display’s rigidity.
What kind of messaging will there be on or in the box about the design or protective layer?
“We will ensure care and use guidance is clearly delivered to our customers through materials in the Galaxy Fold packaging such as the quick start guide and screen cling as well as Samsung.com.”
When and how will Samsung reboot preorders?
“We are reviewing our market launch plan and we look forward to bringing Galaxy Fold to consumers soon. Availability details will be announced in the coming weeks.”
Will the Galaxy Fold cost the same $1,980 as announced at launch?
“[There are] no changes to the price.”
Whether Samsung can really keep the Fold from clouding the attention it hopes to garner for its other phones is an open question. Today’s announcement was nowhere near as comprehensive or clear as what Samsung provided with the Note 7. That means that consumers who go to buy this device when it goes on sale will be taking a very large leap of faith, trusting in Samsung’s word that it’s solved the Fold’s issues. Even if that’s true, the Galaxy Fold is likely to still be a somewhat delicate device, one that is very unlikely to ever be mainstream.