iFixit Finds Out Why The Galaxy Fold Is Breaking So Quickly

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iFixit, a team known for its teardowns of smartphones and analysis of hardware internals, highlighted the possible causes of the display failures of the Galaxy Fold.

Several reviewers who got a hold of the handset before it shipped to customers encountered several problems with their units. Some of the issues include the failure of the smartphone's display and the removal of the polyimide film that supposedly protects the handset's screen. These reports prompted the company to temporarily delay the release of its first foldable handset, although new release dates will reportedly become available in two weeks.

iFixit noted possible reasons behind the failure of the handset's display. The first reason is the fragility of OLED displays. Compared to LCD panels, OLED screens tends to fail as a whole, rather than in segments. Moreover, OLED displays are also sensitive to external substances like oxygen and water, and their presence could also result in display failure.

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Since OLED panels, in general, are delicate, any attempt to remove the polyimide film that protects that display, like what some reviewers did to their handsets, will expose the screen to substances that can cause the failure of the panel. Samsung already highlighted the same issue in a previous announcement, wherein it mentioned that materials inside the device could adversely affect the OLED display.

However, the design of the handset itself makes it easy for dust and other materials that can negatively impact the display performance to penetrate the internals of the handset. iFixit noted that dust could enter the handset through the gaps present at the top and bottom of the screen as well as the back of the device. These materials can also create bumps on the screen as the display presses against the internals of the device while it is folded.

While it may not be a direct reason for the failure of the Galaxy Fold's flexible display, iFixit noted that the way users unfold and close the handset can also worsen the damage on the screen, since people tend to press portions of the panel when opening or closing the handset.

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Given these possible causes of display failures, Samsung aims to improve the protection of the Super AMOLED display of the Galaxy Fold, although the South Korean tech giant has yet to provide additional information about the enhancements that the handset maker will include to reduce instances of failure.

In addition to improving the device, reports indicate that Samsung may also introduce warnings that remind users not to remove the polyimide film that protects the display. iFixit noted that for years, users removed the plastic sheets that covered the screens of handsets during shipment, and this behavior likely influenced the removal of the protective film of the Galaxy Fold. Hopefully, the addition of visible warnings could mitigate the potentially damaging actions of some users.

Samsung will release more information about the availability of the handset within the next two weeks. People who have already reserved the device are guaranteed to receive the smartphone, although users have the option to cancel their orders before the handset starts shipping.

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