Like almost everyone on the planet, I've never touched a Galaxy Fold. But I often folded plastic and I see a major problem on the phone that few people speak: physics. Specifically, the greater the radius of a curvature is tight in a piece of rigid or semi-rigid material, the more likely it is to be damaged. Multiply that chance by 200,000 times, a Galaxy Fold screen is designed to be folded and unfolded, and it may be that a serious problem can never be solved.
Everything will break when folded enough times. Hopefully enough after the end of the product's useful life.
I'm not crazy, like that is It is obvious that Samsung has already examined the issue. Just look at the hinge of the device when it is folded. This decidedly discreet gap at the hinge is specifically designed to combat the problem. Folding it tightly closed would exacerbate it and lead to a much larger fold much sooner than expected or, worse, premature screen failure.
You do not need to make phones to understand that, either. Just take a hard screen protector designed for any ordinary phone and fold it. Admire the perma-fold that you have just created, then bend it a few hundred times until it tears itself apart. Plastic can be an extremely durable material in a phone, but it will eventually be damaged.
At first glance, the Fold's screen looks like any other Samsung phone. It is tall and beautiful, has this distinctive AMOLED color pattern and makes you want to take it and use it. Samsung is the king of compact display technology for good reason and the company knows how to do it better than anyone else. But it is also a screen designed to fall back, which is a whole new idea.
This idea means a lot of plastic. Hard plastic, soft plastic – even the secret plastics. Anyone who has already disassembled a phone knows just how fragile the actual screen is once you get rid of it, and the Fold's OLED panel is no different. The OLED layer itself with the digitizer – the part that records when you've touched it – will break at the slightest disturbance.
Samsung had to not only reinvent the form factor of the phone with the Fold, but also reinvent some display technologies.
These should be sandwiched between layers of flexible material that will allow the fold to bend and remain rigid enough to prevent damage at the same time. The closer the radius of this crease is, the better the chances of this rigid layer creasing forever or even breaking. And you just have to look to China to see if there could be a better way.
The initial reaction to the Huawei Mate X was that the screen should fall back on itself as does Samsung – a innie rather than one outtie. It looks like it would look better, but more importantly, it would better protect the display than exposing it. After finding out how quickly the fold has become more visible on several Galaxy Fold units and other issues surrounding the display, I think the opposite may be true.
Companion X may look worse when folded, but I bet it lasts a lot longer.
A much larger radius in the folding area of the screen, as seen in the Mate X, is probably a much stronger panel that is much less likely to be damaged at the crease. Harder materials can be used that are stiffer because the place where a fold can form is nonexistent. Hard, stiffer plastics mean a harder outer layer that can withstand more scratches and abuse.
This is important because, as Samsung reminds us, you can not add any type of adhesive or other layer to the top of the Fold screen, apart from the existing plastic protector. This means no additional screen protectors, at least for the moment.
In the larger scheme of the thing, none of this is of any importance. The Galaxy Fold is a first generation product that will only be purchased by enthusiasts who want to return damaged units to Samsung for repair or replacement. The unsightly look and the price of USD 2,000 mean that there will be no real demand for the product for the product. Samsung is free to continue working on this idea until a ready-to-use version can be built and sold.
Samsung has a proven track record in perfecting a product category. The fold will be the same.
It's an idea that Samsung knows and has perfected. Looking back, can we say that the original Galaxy Note has been a failure? It was expensive, very few were sold, and it took several versions of refinement to become the big hit of the Note range.
Give the Fold a few versions, and it may be the same thing.
A new category
Samsung Galaxy Fold
A remarkable engineering achievement
Samsung's latest phone is actually a disguised tablet, but it takes out both. It's the beauty of being the first of a new category, as some of Fold's flaws, as well as its high price, can be forgiven. Nevertheless, only early users should consider the Galaxy Fold at the moment.