Samsung has rejected the release of the device, scheduled for May 3, fearing to relive the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco.
This time, no question of taking the slightest risk. Nearly three years after the fiasco of the launch of Note 7, which had to be removed from the market three months after its commercialization because of batteries that caught fire, Samsung has decided to delay and delay the launch of its latest model, the Galaxy fold. This smartphone of a new kind, with its foldable screen, was released April 26 in the United States, and May 3 in other countries including France. "We plan to give a release date in the coming weeks", the group said in a statement released Monday, April 22.
The pressure was strong in recent days, on the shoulders of the world's number one mobile phone manufacturers. A number of US users – journalists and youtubers – to whom the brand had provided the device in test, before its release, had reported concerns with the smartphone, whose screen began to flash, when it did not turn completely black on all or part of its surface.
Korean group plays caution
Samsung reacted by saying that it would scrupulously inspect the defective copies. In his defense, the manufacturer pointed out that some users had removed the protective layer of the device, affixed to the screen. A manipulation, not recommended, which could explain the defects of posting. However, insufficient justification, since in the case of a CNBC reporter, he had not removed the protective layer.
The tests carried out following these negative returns have obviously prompted the Korean firm to be cautious. Monday, admitting that the product needed to'Improvements', she said she would realize "Extensive testing" and take "Measures to strengthen the protection of the screen". The main weaknesses seem to be at the hinge of the device. The group also mentions a case where "Substances found inside the device have affected the performance of the screen".
For Samsung, which claimed to be the first major manufacturer to offer foldable smartphones, it's a blow. A successful launch of the Galaxy Fold would have ensured him the image of a champion of innovation. Because the device is really revolutionary: at first, it looks like a classic smartphone, although a little more robust, with a small screen in front. But once unfolded, the Galaxy Fold is more like a minitablette, very nice to watch a video, or use multiple applications simultaneously.
Huawei could benefit
Beyond the uses, the device is of a rare technical complexity, with the introduction of this folding screen which Samsung assured that it could bend and unfold at least 200 000 times without experiencing failures.
Although many users who have had the smartphone before launch have praised the quality, these few isolated cases of malfunction and Samsung's decision to postpone the release of the product now undermine the image of the manufacturer, and recall fatally The case of Note 7. At least, Samsung seems to have learned some lessons from this catastrophic episode that had cost him billions of dollars and dealt a serious blow to his reputation. But consumer confidence in this product is inevitably already impaired. This is particularly problematic for a device whose price in France will exceed 2,000 euros.
Huawei is to launch, this year, its own model of foldable smartphone, the Mate X
This setback could obviously play into the hands of Samsung's competitors, starting with rival Huawei, who claims his ambition to become, by three years, the world's leading manufacturer and which is to launch, this year, its own smartphone model. foldable, the Mate X. More cautious than Samsung, the Chinese had not given a release date during the presentation of his product at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February. Several specialized sites speculate, however, on a release before the summer, and therefore, why not, before Samsung.
In the competition between the two manufacturers, the episode that is played today is nothing trivial. Thomas Husson of Forrester says:
"The challenge is obviously not this new category of product still completely niche, but the ability to innovate. "
And he adds: "This type of industrial accident can have devastating effects on the Samsung brand. " Especially if Huawei demonstrates its ability to overcome, for its part, the challenges of foldable smartphones.