You’ve probably seen by now that the Samsung Galaxy Fold seemingly has a durability problem, and enough of one that Samsung has delayed shipping the device to give it time to fix the issues – but a new report suggests the issues might not be easy to fix.
iFixit (a site with plenty of experience of taking apart and repairing phones) has posted some theories as to why the Samsung Galaxy Fold might break so easily, and one of things it notes is that OLED screens – which are the only kind that can be used in a folding phone – are inherently very fragile.
That’s a problem which doesn’t sound easy to solve, and it’s not the only potential issue, with the site adding that OLED can react to “prying, moisture, oxygen or nearly anything”, and that the design of the hinge likely allows dust to interfere with it.
Another, more avoidable, issue is the removal of the protective covering on the screen. It’s a cover that Samsung didn’t intend people to remove, but perhaps the company didn’t make that clear enough. However, iFixit notes that it’s not just the absence of the cover that could cause problems, but the pressure applied in removing it.
iFixit also theorizes that the robots Samsung used to fold the phone thousands of times as part of its testing process would likely do so in the same way every time, whereas humans will be using differing amounts of pressure and hold the Galaxy Fold in different positions.
Finally, there’s seemingly no pre-scored line down the middle of the display, the absence of which potentially helps it look like one big screen rather than two separate panels, but on the flip side this means that pressure from folding could be applied to many areas, rather than a single thin crease, which could cause issues.
A foldable problem
It’s worth noting that all these theories are simply educated guesses. iFixit doesn’t have a Galaxy Fold of its own to test them out on, but it does have the expertise to make these sorts of guesses.
And if it’s right then that could be a problem for Samsung, and for folding phones in general. Many of these issues sound like they may not be fixable without substantially changing the design of the Galaxy Fold, while others may be tricky to fix on any folding phone.
Hopefully Samsung finds a solution, or our folding future could get off to a bumpy, breakable start.