Samsung’s Galaxy Fold finally has a U.S. launch date. The company’s first foldable phone was supposed to launch on April 25 but it went through a recall and delays after tech journalists reviewing it ran into hardware issues. Five months later, it’s now set to launch on September 27.
The foldable phone, which costs $1,980, will be available unlocked through Samsung and Best Buy, and a separate model will also be sold through AT&T as well. T-Mobile was a part of the initial group of carriers and retailers carrying the phone, but it backed out after the launch delay and has said it isn’t going to be a part of the Fold’s official September launch. People that pre-ordered the phone from AT&T and Samsung had their orders canceled, and Samsung offered up a $250 Samsung store gift card as a recompense.
Those buying the phone will get access to Samsung’s Premier Service, announced a few weeks ago. The service offers up 24/7 access to Samsung technicians, who can provide “tailored guidance and support,” either over the phone, through video chat, or in person.
In July, Samsung said it fixed the Galaxy Fold. What has changed? Samsung showed off the new version at the IFA 2019 tradeshow in Berlin early September — we had a chance to check it out — and explained that it made three adjustments to the hardware to alleviate the issues that plagued the original model.
- The protective cover over the screen, which some journalists thought were screen protectors, is now tucked under the bezel around the screen, making it tougher for people to try and remove it. Removing it damaged the screen on the earlier model.
- There are now tiny plastic end caps sealing gaps at the top and bottom of the hinge area when the Fold is opened, ensuring small particles like dust cannot get in.
- The gap between the hinge and the body on the back of the Fold is smaller, again to make sure small particles cannot enter.
The new and improved version of the Galaxy Fold comes with software improvements as well. The Android navigation buttons can now occupy either side of the screen (when the Fold is unfolded), making it easier to use one-handed. The YouTube app also can now recognize the Fold’s aspect ratio and can display content in the right manner.
Considering the Galaxy Fold is a new category of smartphone, it’s unsurprising there are hardware issues with the nascent technology. It also explains the unusually high price. As more manufacturers adopt the technology — and there are quite a few that are interested, including Apple — expect the price to come down (and the kinks to be sorted out).
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