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Samsung foldable smartphone. Photo: Technobezz

Samsung To Launch Foldable Smartphone After Major Delay

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Tech giant Samsung has said it will launch its anticipated first foldable smartphone on Friday, 6th September 2019. This comes months after faulty screens forced an embarrassing delay of its release.


The world’s largest smartphone maker spent nearly eight years developing the Galaxy Fold. However, it had to hold off its launch in April after reviewers reported screen problems within days of use.


It was a major setback for the firm, which was hoping to spark demand for its high-end phones with the launch of the $2,000 device. Samsung’s profits plunged in recent quarters in the face of a weakened market and strong competition from Chinese rivals.


After months of “refining” the Galaxy Fold, Samsung said it will release the smartphone in South Korea on Friday. The device is ready for use on high-speed 5G networks in some markets. Samsung will then release the foldable phone in select countries including the United States, Germany, and France.


The firm will also offer a programme to Galaxy Fold users under which the company would cover 70% of the cost of screen repair once within a year of use.


Samsung Electronics shares closed up 3.6% in Seoul.


Samsung has widely promoted the Galaxy Fold as the “world’s first foldable smartphone”. Meanwhile, rivals such as China’s Huawei have been racing to bring similar devices to market.


Samsung foldable smartphone. Photo: CNET


Samsung has a history of humiliating setbacks with major products. The most notable was a worldwide recall of its Galaxy Note 7 devices in 2016 over exploding batteries. This issue hammered its reputation.


The firm has also been caught up in the intensifying trade war between Japan and South Korea stemming from World War II disputes.


The row saw Tokyo impose tough restrictions on exports crucial to South Korean tech giants in July. Also, Samsung vice chairman Lee Jae-Yong — who called the situation a “crisis” — then visited Tokyo to secure materials.


Analysts say the trade dispute will affect the delivery of Samsung products. Among the affected products is the Galaxy Fold as it relies on a chemical film produced by Japanese firm Sumitomo Chemical.


Lee currently faces a retrial over his role in a massive corruption scandal that brought down former president Park Geun-hye.


He was initially jailed for five years in 2017 on multiple convictions including bribery. The court later reduced this to a suspended sentence on appeal, only for the Supreme Court to order a retrial last month.


Analysts also say the ruling could pose a serious challenge for Samsung.


Source: AFP

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