Samsung Electronics Co. announced that its Galaxy Fold will go on sale Sept. 6 in its home market of South Korea, following a months-long delay caused by the discovery of a severe defect in the original design.
The Galaxy Fold, a $1,980 luxury Android device that opens like a book, was originally scheduled to go on sale in April, but it was delayed after multiple early tests, including those from Bloomberg News, found the screen to have severe reliability issues. Samsung said in July that the phone would relaunch in September, but it had not previously provided an exact date.
People familiar with Samsung’s plans indicate that the Galaxy Fold will be coming to the U.S. on Sept. 27, and Samsung itself lists the American market as one of its expansion geographies after the Korean launch, alongside France, Germany, Singapore and the U.K.
In South Korea, the Galaxy Fold will be offered in only one configuration — with 512GB of storage, 12GB of RAM and fifth-generation cellular connectivity — by SK Telecom, KT Corp. and LG Uplus Corp. South Korea’s carriers said the sticker price for the Fold will be 2.39 million won (roughly equivalent to the $1,980 US price) with a bundled free Montblanc luxury case. 5G will be an option in some other markets.
Samsung’s first foldable device is arriving on the market mere days ahead of Apple Inc.’s 2019 iPhone refresh. That puts it up against formidable smartphone competition, however Samsung’s pitch for the product is that it defines its own new niche. Featuring a 7.3-inch internal flexible display, a smaller screen on the outside and app continuity between the two, the Galaxy Fold is an attempt at crafting a tablet device that fits into the space of a somewhat thick phone.
Bloomberg News reported earlier this week that Samsung is already working on a new foldable phone for 2020, one that collapses down to a square clamshell. Smaller, thinner and cheaper than the Galaxy Fold, that second device is likely to have wider market appeal than the distinctly exclusive and high-end Fold, however Samsung’s future plans for the foldable category are said to hinge on the reception to the Fold.