Samsung Galaxy Fold to launch in Singapore on Sept 18 at $3,088

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

BERLIN - Smartphone maker Samsung Electronics announced on Thursday (Sept 5) that its Galaxy Fold phone will be available here 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, United States and Britain.

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

In South Korea, the 5G Fold will be available from Friday 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. Now, we're excited to release this pioneering mobile technology, and allow consumers to experience it for themselves," said Mr D. J. Koh, chief executive of Samsung's smartphone division.

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

 
 

Samsung has since tweaked the design of the Galaxy 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 Galaxy 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 Galaxy 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.

Samsung had hinted at the Galaxy Fold announcement on Monday after reopening pre-registration for the phone in the US.

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 that its foldable phone will launch "between September and November 2019".