Samsung has announced that it’s launching a “Premier Service” for people planning on buying its Galaxy Fold foldable smartphone. The service gives owners of the nearly-$2,000 phone access to Samsung’s experts, who will provide 24/7 guidance and support.
That service includes an onboarding session where these experts walk new customers through the features of device. Sadly, we still don’t have word on an official U.S. release date other than the fact that the phone is launching in the “coming weeks,” at the end of September. It’s a different story in South Korea, though, where the Galaxy Fold will be available starting September 6. The following countries are set to get it soon after: France, Germany, Singapore, the U.K., the U.S., and “more.”
The landmark foldable phone was initially set to launch on April 25, but tech journalists reviewing the device ahead of its sale date found issues with the hardware (we ran into no issues with the product in our time testing it, as you’ll find in our review). Samsung recalled the units it sent out and postponed the launch until it could sort out the problems. It was a serious blow to the company, which was understandably hyping up the launch of its first-ever foldable smartphone — technology it has been working on for close to a decade.
“It was embarrassing,” D.J. Koh, Samsung’s president and CEO, said in July. “I pushed it through before it was ready.”
Samsung then said it fixed the problems with the Galaxy Fold in July, and that sales would officially kick off in September. The fixes to the revised Galaxy Fold include an extended protective layer on the main display so that people don’t mistakenly remove it, a strengthened hinge, and “reinforcements to better protect the device from external particles.”
It’s not unsurprising to see hardware problems for a new product category, but it does call into question the life span and reliability of the foldable phone’s components. It doesn’t help that the Fold has a starting price of $1,980.
Huawei has yet to release its Mate X foldable competitor, which costs even more at $2,600. But more foldable smartphones are expected to be on the way in 2020, with companies like Motorola, Google, TCL, and even Apple filing patents for foldable designs.
At the moment, foldable phones aren’t for the average person — they’re simply too expensive. As the technology matures and more products come to market, prices will drop; TCL already said it wants to make foldable hardware that’s more accessible. It’s a similar story with 5G phones, and by the way, there’s a 5G version of the Galaxy Fold that’s even more expensive. Right now, 5G smartphones are pricey, but brands like HMD Global, which makes Nokia phones, and OnePlus are attempting to bring the cost down.
The Galaxy Fold will come in cosmos black and space silver in the U.S. Expect its release at the end of the month. You can preregister now to put your name down and get alerts. The Premier Service comes included for those that purchase the phone.