Unless you've been hiding from the internet, you've likely heard that the Samsung Galaxy Fold has had a rough go of it leading up to its public release. It all started when Samsung sent review units to a handful of publications. Many of these reviewers discovered very quickly one vital flaw: the glass breaks within a few days. In some cases, it was a crack across the seam, while others lost most or all of the LCD panel in the process. Following the problems, Samsung recalled all of the review units, leaving zero units in the wild.
Or so they thought. Through "a trusted partner," teardown website iFixIt received a unit and worked their usual magic. As part of their review, they discovered what was likely happening to these review units. An apparent shipping screen protector turns out to vital to the structural integrity of the phone. It is also surprisingly easy for something to fall behind the screen, making a full-screen crack unavoidable. When Samsung discovered the teardown, they asked that iFixIt remove their piece, and the website complied.
With that, the best bit of information about the Galaxy Fold has disappeared. This is important because the Galaxy Fold is not going anywhere. While the launch is delayed, it is not delayed enough to build a whole new collection of devices or to do any major fix to the existing design. This is a $2000 phone which has proven itself to be nothing more than a public prototype without the label.
The other problem is that this is not Samsung's first disastrous device launch. The world all remembers the exploding Note7 devices. Samsung never got their hands around the message, and it nearly destroyed their reputation. Almost exactly a year ago, we had a discussion about Samsung's focus on deadlines over quality, and here we are once again. At least this time they're trying to control the message, but with such a heavy hand, it might backfire on them.