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Two Galaxy Fold launch events reportedly delayed. Will the foldable phone still ship on time? – CNET

More bad news befell the beleaguered Galaxy Fold on Sunday after three separate problems with the Galaxy Fold's screen rendered early production review units unusable. Now, Samsung will reportedly postpone launch events in Hong Kong and Shanghai showcasing its foldable phone, Engadget's Richard Lai tweeted. They were originally scheduled for April 23 and 24, respectively. 

The incidents with the Fold's plastic screen have caused a kerfuffle among tech-lovers on the internet, casting doubt on the durability of Samsung's $2,000 foldable phone and on the concept of bendable devices in general.

CNET's Galaxy Fold review unit has remained intact, and we've been in contact with Samsung about the reported screen issues. Samsung did not respond to a request for comment about the supposed delay in launching the phone globally.

The company has reportedly said, however, that the delay was caused by problems with the venue, according to SamMobile, citing "someone claiming to be familiar with the matter." Frequent mobile tipster Ice Universe also corroborated the postponement of "two events" -- presumably the launch events -- and also suggested that shipments of the phone itself could be pushed back.

Right now, it isn't clear Samsung would also hit the pause button on selling the Galaxy Fold in the US. A Samsung spokesperson said last week that the US April 26 launch date is still on track, according to a tweet from The Wall Street Journal. It's unknown if Samsung will revise its statement in order to address the screen concerns and bolster the message on its packaging informing new Galaxy Fold owners not to remove the plastic film protecting the polymer screen.

Samsung's Galaxy Fold woes began last Wednesday, two days after it distributed a small number of review devices to reviewers, including CNET. It was revealed that peeling the plastic film off the Galaxy Fold's 7.3-inch interior screen, which is made of a thin sheet of bendable plastic rather than glass, instantly made the phone unusable. 

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Another journalist discovered that the left half of his Galaxy Fold strongly flickered, and a fourth noticed a bulge under his screen that caused noticeable distortion in the screen's image, possibly from debris that worked its way under the display.

Foldable phones are a brand new concept rocking the phone world. The design is supposed to give people double the screen space on a device that's small enough to carry around, unlike today's pocket-bust devices. But the enormous expense -- the Galaxy Fold starts at $1,980 -- and concerns over the durability of a bendable screen and hinge could threaten the ability of foldable phones to get off the ground. Huawei has also announced a foldable device, the Mate X, and Motorola is rumored to launch a foldable Razr

The incidents with the Galaxy Fold are also putting Samsung under intense scrutiny as consumers and industry pundits draw parallels with Samsung's double recall of 2016's Galaxy Note 7, after numerous reports that its battery overheated and sometimes caught fire. Screen issues tied to the Galaxy Fold have "broken" the phones, but have not been reported to catch fire or otherwise cause danger to people and property.

Two Galaxy Fold launch events reportedly delayed. Will the foldable phone still ship on time?     - CNET

Multitasking on a larger screen is one benefit of a foldable phone like the Galaxy Fold.

Angela Lang/CNET

Samsung said in a statement that it's investigating the review units in person to determine the cause of the screen issues:

"A limited number of early Galaxy Fold samples were provided to media for review. We have received a few reports regarding the main display on the samples provided. We will thoroughly inspect these units in person to determine the cause of the matter."

The company also told CNET in a statement, "We are taking all necessary measures to ensure that information about protective layer is clearly delivered to our customers. Materials in the Galaxy Fold box, including the quick start guide, will include information about the protective layer. Samsung.com will have a dedicated Galaxy Fold FAQ for consumers to learn more about caring for the Galaxy Fold, including information about the protective layer. Retail representatives and customer care are trained with information about the top protective layer."

CNET is keeping an eye on developments with the Galaxy Fold. While we're continuing to review the early production device, we will not assign a rating until after we test the final production phone we ordered. See how it's going with our Galaxy Fold so far.

Originally published April 12 at 1:42 p.m. PT.

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