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South Korean Tech Giant Samsung Still Has Time to Correct its Foldable Dream

Moreover, there’s no denying that the second-generation of foldable devices would be better that the experimental and ambitious first generation iterations

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Smartphone, tablet folded phone
DJ Koh, president and CEO of IT and Mobile Communications, holds up the new Samsung Galaxy Fold smartphone during an event, Feb. 20, 2019, in San Francisco. VOA

By Krishna SinhaChaudhary

Just when the industry through innovation in the smartphone business had hit stagnation, Samsung wowed us with its first foldable device “Galaxy Fold,” worth a whopping $2,000.

A super-premium phone that took almost a decade in the making and opens like a book when unfolded, shouted everything next-generation.

However, the expectations took a beating when reports of the Galaxy Fold issues surfaced.

The units given to international tech reviewers encountered display distortion and screen flickering issues, forcing the South Korean giant to postpone its launch in Hong Kong and Shanghai on April 23 and 24 respectively, and issue a recall of review units.

The big question lingers: Will the “Foldgate” make a dent in Samsung’s image like the Galaxy Note 7 with exploding batteries did in 2016?

According to CyberMedia Research (CMR), the smartphone major has been mature and pragmatic enough by postponing its launch and sorting out all the issues before its general availiability.

“All said, for Samsung, there is no race for first past the post with its foldable smartphone. It is more imperative for the company to focus on not delivering a flawed product, but rather ensuring highest consumer experience when the device goes on sales,” Prabhu Ram, Head, Industry Intelligence Group (IIG), CMR, told IANS.

Defending its devices just days before its roll-out, a Samsung spokesperson assured that the firm would “thoroughly inspect” the units.

According to market research firm Gartner, foldable phones would make up 5 per cent of high-end phones sales by 2023 with around 30 million units.

According to Faisal Kawoosa, Founder and Principal Analyst of market research firm techARC, from a technology-rich company like Samsung, “one would expect things out only after reliability of desired levels are achieved”.

Samsung, Home, Privacy
Arvin Baalu, vice president of product management at Harman International, talks about the Samsung Digital Cockpit during a Samsung news conference at the 2019 CES in Las Vegas, Jan. 7, 2019. VOA

The Galaxy Fold is expected to be priced around Rs 1,40,790 in India.

“Nevertheless, the lab and real-world conditions play differently. I don’t see it as a big issue as the product has not exchanged hands with consumers yet. They have time to correct this aberration,” Kawoosa told IANS.

Some units of the Galaxy Fold, which became the first phone with a foldable OLED display, is encountering two primary issues: the foldable screen seems to have a layer of protective layer that is similar to a cheap screen film.

Several units reportedly failed after the layer was taken off.

Few other screens failed because the hinge exposed areas which allowed debris to get inside of the display, thus, damaging the unit.

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“We expect that users will use a foldable phone as they do their regular smartphone, picking it up hundreds of times a day, unfolding it sporadically and typing on its plastic screen, which may scratch quickly depending on the way it folds,” Roberta Cozza, Research Director at Gartner had earlier said.

However, according to market research firm techARC, this is primarily a material issue than a design.

“I think till the time it’s a plastic-based screen, the chances of such mishaps remain high. I would certainly like to see a glass display, that too from credible makers like Corning, to have a reliable foldable screen,” stressed Kawoosa.

Moreover, there’s no denying that the second-generation of foldable devices would be better that the experimental and ambitious first generation iterations.

“The first generation of an innovation is always experimental, and which over successive iterations achieves perfection. Let’s’face it. The Galaxy Fold was just a mistake in timing. It does not take away anything from its manufacturing capabilities,” Ram noted. (IANS)

Next Story

Realme, Samsung Have Lowest Return Rates Among All Smartphone Brands in India

When it comes to reliability, Realme users rank their smartphones high (90 per cent), followed by Samsung (88 per cent) and Vivo (87 per cent)

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To get ahead in the fast-changing tech industry, Samsung said it will expand investment in burgeoning tech segments to propel growth. Wikimedia Commons

Chinese handset maker Realme and South Korean major Samsung have the lowest return rates among all smartphone brands in India, a survey by CyberMedia Research (CMR) said on Thursday.

The “CMR MICI” survey that included 4,000 smartphone owners across top eight Indian cities, focused on smartphone purchase process, key smartphone specs of priority, as well as issues with post-sales service, including repairs or replacements.

“The return rates in smartphone brands provide a measure of consumer satisfaction with their current brand and, in turn, implies that the brands have been able to excel in meeting consumer expectations. Our survey findings report the lowest return rate for brands, such as Realme and Samsung, in comparison to the prevailing industry average,” Prabhu Ram, Head-Industry Intelligence Group (IIG), CMR, said in a statement.

The lowest return rates are determined by the first visit to the brand’s service centre within the first six months of purchase, for either repair or replacement, by both online as well as offline buyers.

Around three per cent of the total smartphone users visited a service centre for the first time within the first six months of their smartphone purchase, during the in-warranty period.

Realme, Online, Smartphone
Armed with a quad camera-system smartphone in every price segment along with an investment worth Rs 300 crore for its surface-mount technology (SMT) lines, Chinese handset maker Realme aims. Pixabay

When it comes to looks, design and feel, users of Vivo are most satisfied (99 per cent), followed by OPPO and Realme users (98 per cent each), and at third place, Xiaomi with 97 per cent satisfaction.

Across smartphone brands, users are excited about the design aesthetics, camera performance and build quality that phones sport across price bands.

Users indicated more satisfaction with intangible factors that they associate with their smartphones, including reliability and performance.

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“In order to win consumer mindset, smartphone brands need to invest in getting not just product design and product quality right, but they must ensure overall brand experience, and service quality right,” Ram added.

When it comes to reliability, Realme users rank their smartphones high (90 per cent), followed by Samsung (88 per cent) and Vivo (87 per cent). (IANS)