Following American retailer Best Buy, US carrier AT&T has canceled its Galaxy Fold pre-orders.
AT&T is sending letters to customers telling them that their Galaxy Fold pre-orders are being canceled because of the phone's delay. Since Samsung has pulled the Galaxy Fold from shelves, there are no units in stock to release, AT&T writes in its cancellation emails. Tech site Tom's Guide received its cancellation email yesterday.
While AT&T's decision to cancel the product is no surprise, what may prove surprising is that the carrier is offering a $100 promo card to pre-order customers who feel disappointed by the cancellation. Customers can expect their $100 promo card within sixty days (two months).
The delay of the Galaxy Fold release is due to issues plaguing review units. In March, a visible crease in the middle of the Galaxy Fold was noted, the same crease across the middle that was present when Samsung Executive DJ Koh first lifted the phablet (combination of "phone" and "tablet," a word used to describe the all-in-one device) before the world for the first time.
When reviewers started complaining that their Galaxy Fold units were breaking within two days, Samsung reached out to tech site The Verge to confirm that there were a few reports of breaking units. The issue surrounded a protective layer on the Galaxy Fold, known as the polyimide film, that reviewers should not have removed but did. Samsung said it was investigating those units and warned others not to remove the protective layer from their Galaxy Fold units.
Carrier AT&T had originally given customers a release date of June 13th for the Galaxy Fold, with the arrival date of April 26th to its stores, but the June 13th date appears to have been given one day after Samsung's announcement and was merely a placeholder. With the issues surrounding the device, AT&T quickly dropped the June 13th date and removed it from its website.
The Galaxy Fold issues started with the crease in the phone display but went even deeper than that. The protective layer issue concerned the understandable assumption that the clear layer was actually a screen protector instead of a protective layer — making reviewers think they could remove it and add one of their own, rather than see it as an indispensable part of the device that would damage it if removed. Samsung is considering adding a warning on the device itself about not removing the polyimide film from the display as a result.
Other problems with the Galaxy Fold include white streaks appearing on the display and screen flickering and flashes. In one instance, a Galaxy Fold unit screen flickered, then died completely.
Samsung recalled the Galaxy Fold at the end of April, telling reviewers to return their units so that the company could figure out the cause of the defective units. Some say that Samsung did this to prevent another Galaxy Note 7-like catastrophe, but the Fold is in a different set of circumstances than the Galaxy Note 7.
For one, the Galaxy Note 7 wasn't a unique device in a unique category, but an existing product within the Galaxy Note lineup. Secondly, Galaxy Note 7s were blowing up due to the conflict between small battery compartments and large batteries that would then bulge when exposed to overheating. None of these problems have been confirmed on the Galaxy Fold, though only Samsung can confirm or deny these problems in the final evaluation.
The Galaxy Fold is a one-of-a-kind device, the first in a new category of devices. It is the phablet dream realized, an all-in-one device that lets users have a tablet display for gaming and work when they need it, and a small, compact, and portable phone when they need it.
The Galaxy Fold features a 7.3-inch display that can be used as a tablet when unfolded and a 4.6-inch display that can be used as a phone when folded. The device packs Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 SoC, 12GB of RAM, 128GB of storage with a 512GB-capable microSD card slot, three cameras on the phone's back side (to the left), Android 9.0 Pie (and Samsung's own Fold UI) pre-installed, and a 4,380mAh battery with 18W fast charging.
For all this technological goodness, customers were quoted a price of $1,980. The device doesn't look to have a new date for a second release, but customers shouldn't expect to pay any less the second time around.