So the excitement surrounding the Samsung Galaxy Fold seems to have crescendoed into an embarrassing mess for the electronics manufacturing giant. But while most of us can agree that Samsung probably shouldn’t have pushed the device into being so quickly. I think that the Samsung Galaxy Fold is one of the most important devices of the year.
By now, most of us know about the problems the Galaxy Fold has faced since being unleashed on reviewers. Some screens on the Fold were legitimately breaking under normal use and wear. While others were damaged by reviewers simply not reading instructions and being too impatient to take things slow.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not defending Samsung in jumping the gun in releasing the Fold so quickly. There’s certainly something to be said for being too anxious to be the first to market with a product. To Samsung’s credit, it was wise of them to hold the release because they certainly don’t want another Galaxy Note7 incident.
The mistake Samsung made was pushing to market too quickly with a display that’s new to even those of us who are in the tech industry. We know that we can’t flex glass so the Fold’s display is made of plastic. There is an additional layer of plastic covering the display which some reviewers mistakenly thought was a screen protector. Pulling those back causes total catastrophic damage to the display. Some displays were getting debris caught under them through the hinge, also causing damage to displays.
A valid question is, why didn’t Samsung catch these problems through the intensive testing they claim to have done with the Fold. Well, real-world use and lab testing are two different worlds. Honestly, Samsung would have been better off sending a handful of employees home with the Fold to test rather than giving them to reviewers. It would have at least, saved some bad publicity.
But even with all of these issues Samsung has to face, the Galaxy Fold remains an important device. It’s important because it’s truly one of the first devices to bridge the gap between a mobile phone and tablet. It gives you the mobility of a smartphone while giving you more screen real estate like a tablet.
We thought we had that problem licked when the Galaxy Note made its way to market. But even with the Galaxy Note’s ample screen, it still lacks some of the functionality of a tablet like the iPad Mini. A device like the Galaxy Fold or even the Huawei Mate X is looking to be the path in which mobile devices are heading.
The Fold and the Mate X will offer a much larger area to view and interact with but still manage to fold down to something that can fit neatly into a back pocket or purse. Even an iPad Mini is simply too wide to get into a pocket. I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple wasn’t already working on their own foldable phone/tablet technology.
There are still a ton of things to iron out with foldable devices. Mainly the build quality and the ability of the device to stand up to real-world use cases. While the Samsung Galaxy Fold did have a very embarrassing first step into the market. It’s a step that needed to be taken by someone and we should at least give Samsung the credit for investing time and money into taking that step. Foldable devices are in the future, the Fold may not be a big seller, but it’s an important first step and important first device in the foldable device market.