Samsung announced the nearly $2,000 Galaxy Fold several months ago with the intention of shipping it in April, but that didn’t happen. The first handful of Fold review units the company handed out suffered from an array of devastating screen defects, causing Samsung to delay the launch. News on the redesign process has been tough to come by since then, and now AT&T is done waiting. The carrier has canceled all Galaxy Fold pre-orders and refunded customers.
The Galaxy Fold was supposed to be the first legitimate attempt to make a folding Android phone. There have been some folding phones in the past like the FlexPai, but they’ve been little more than mostly broken tech demos created without Google’s blessing. The Galaxy Fold was set to launch with Android Pie, but it included custom Google features designed for foldables, These features will be available widely in Android Q.
The issues with the Fold all come down to the large 7.3-inch folding OLED. While Samsung says it tested the screen for hundreds of thousands of folds, something about the way humans use the device differs from the robotic stress tests. The devices developed dead zones, bulges, and flickering. Some just stopped working altogether. A teardown of the Fold showed how dust could infiltrate the layers insulating the folding OLED, but Samsung had that iFixit post removed by going after the supplier that allowed their unit to be disassembled.
Best Buy and Samsung previously canceled most Galaxy Fold pre-orders, but it did that quickly after the issues surfaced. AT&T seemed content to let things go a little longer in hopes that Samsung could get the phone out the door in short order. However, there’s still no official release date. The closest Samsung has come is confirming that it will have a more precise release timeline in the coming weeks.
Customers who pre-ordered the Fold from AT&T should all have emails by now explaining the situation. While the carrier is canceling pre-orders, it’s offering a $100 promotional card as compensation for the inconvenience. AT&T isn’t completely washing its hands of the Fold, either. As soon as Samsung announces a release date, AT&T says pre-orders will open again. So, don’t spend that $2,000 refund right away if you want to be among the first to get your hands on Samsung’s first folding phone.