NEW YORK: Samsung's new Galaxy Fold, a splashy US$1,980 phone that opens into a tablet, is malfunctioning for some journalist reviewers after only a day or two of use, according to posts on social media on Wednesday.
The problem seems to be related to the unit's screen either cracking or flickering, according to Twitter posts by technology journalists from Bloomberg, The Verge and CNBC who received the phone this week for review purposes.
The Galaxy Fold officially goes on sale on Apr 26 in the United States. It will be launched in Singapore in the second quarter of 2019.
Samsung said it had received "a few" reports of damage to the main display of samples of its upcoming foldable handset.
"We will thoroughly inspect these units in person to determine the cause of the matter," Samsung said in a statement, noting that a limited number of early Galaxy Fold samples were provided to media for review.
It added that removal of a protective layer on the handset's display might cause damage and that the company would deliver such information to customers clearly.
The screen on my Galaxy Fold review unit is completely broken and unusable just two days in. Hard to know if this is widespread or not. pic.twitter.com/G0OHj3DQHw— Mark Gurman (@markgurman) April 17, 2019
The South Korean company's Galaxy Fold resembles a conventional smartphone but opens like a book to reveal a second display the size of a small tablet at 18.5cm.
Although Galaxy Fold and Huawei's Mate X foldable phones are not expected to be big sellers, the new designs were hailed as framing the future of smartphones this year in a field that has seen few surprises since Apple introduced the screen slab iPhone in 2007.
The problems with the new phone drew comparisons to Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 phone in 2016.
Battery and design flaws in the Note 7 led to some units catching fire or exploding, forcing Samsung to recall and cancel sales of the phone. The recall wiped out nearly all of the profits in Samsung's mobile division in the third quarter of 2016.
Reviewers of the new Galaxy Fold said they did not know what the problem was and Samsung did not provide answers.
PSA: There's a layer that appears to be a screen protector on the Galaxy Fold's display. It's NOT a screen protector. Do NOT remove it.— Marques Brownlee (@MKBHD) April 17, 2019
I got this far peeling it off before the display spazzed and blacked out. Started over with a replacement. pic.twitter.com/ZhEG2Bqulr
Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman tweeted: "The screen on my Galaxy Fold review unit is completely broken and unusable just two days in. Hard to know if this is widespread or not."
According to Gurman's tweets, he removed a plastic layer on the screen that was not meant to be removed and the phone malfunctioned afterwards.
Dieter Bohn, executive editor of The Verge, said that a "small bulge" appeared on the crease of the phone screen, which appeared to be something pressing from underneath the screen.
Bohn said Samsung replaced his test phone but did not offer a reason for the problem.
"It is very troubling," Bohn told Reuters, adding that he did not remove the plastic screen cover.
Steve Kovach, tech editor at CNBC.com tweeted a video of half of his phone's screen flickering after using it for just a day.