Samsung Galaxy Fold to debut in Singapore on Sept 18

Samsung Electronics' Galaxy Fold on display during a media event in Seoul yesterday. Originally slated to launch on April 26 in the United States, the Fold was delayed for five months after some reviewers encountered problems with their test samples,
Samsung Electronics' Galaxy Fold on display during a media event in Seoul yesterday. Originally slated to launch on April 26 in the United States, the Fold was delayed for five months after some reviewers encountered problems with their test samples, such as broken and bulging screens.PHOTO: REUTERS

It will sell at $3,088; Republic among few countries phone will be available in

Smartphone maker Samsung Electronics announced yesterday that its Galaxy Fold phone will be available in Singapore from Sept 18 at $3,088.

Available in two colours, the black version will be sold from Sept 18 while the silver version will launch on Sept 21. Both models are the 4G long-term evolution (LTE) variant.

Besides Singapore, the Fold is available in only a few other countries, including France, Germany, the United States and Britain.

The 5G version of the Fold will be available in only South Korea, Britain and Germany, for now.

In South Korea, the 5G Fold will be available from today for nearly 2.4 million won (S$2,770).

"The category-defining Galaxy Fold is a device that defies the barriers of traditional smartphone design," said Mr D. J. Koh, chief executive of Samsung's smartphone division. "Now, we're excited to release this pioneering mobile technology, and allow consumers to experience it for themselves."

Originally slated to launch on April 26 in the US, the Fold was delayed for five months after some reviewers encountered problems with their test samples, such as broken and bulging screens.

Samsung has since tweaked the design of the Fold to address these issues. The South Korean firm said in July that it extended the top protective layer - peeled off by some reviewers - to make it clear that it should not be tampered with.

Other improvements include reinforcing the phone to better protect it from external particles, as well as reducing the space between the hinge and the Fold's body.

 
 

Besides its primary 7.3-inch screen, the Fold has a second 4.6-inch cover display that is used when folded.

Its hinge relies on multiple interlocking gears to switch from a regular smartphone to a tablet. In tablet form, three apps can be used at the same time on the larger screen.

While Samsung is not the first manufacturer to launch a foldable phone, it would be the first major smartphone maker to launch such a device.

Analysts told The Straits Times that Samsung is keen to launch the Fold to bolster its reputation.

"Samsung desperately needs a heavy hitter to propel itself into the limelight again after being overshadowed by Huawei in recent years," said Mr Loo Wee Teck, head of consumer electronics research at Euromonitor International.

Mr Bryan Ma, vice-president of devices research at market research firm IDC, noted that in addition to "high prices and production challenges, the application ecosystem and usage model of folding phones is still nascent".

"One other reason why Samsung is likely charging so aggressively into this space is to learn the hard lessons about engineering and manufacturing early on, thus giving it an edge over its competition," said Mr Ma.

Rival Huawei is also making a foldable phone, the 5G-capable Mate X.

But the Chinese firm had also postponed the Mate X's original June launch, without giving a new date.

According to tech website TechRadar, Huawei said last month its foldable phone will launch between this month and November.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 06, 2019, with the headline 'Samsung Galaxy Fold to debut in S'pore on Sept 18'. Print Edition | Subscribe