08 May 2019
In the past week, Samsung Galaxy Fold's reputation has changed drastically from being the foldable phone to look forward to a phone which might get scrapped altogether. There have been a good number of display failure reports and Samsung has also delayed the release indefinitely. While we are yet to hear official reasoning behind the issues, iFixit has shared Galaxy Fold teardown to share some thoughts about possible reasons.
It has been discovered that Samsung seems to have focused a lot on ensuring that the folding and unfolding mechanism is durable and sturdy. It has managed to achieve the same as well but in doing so, it seems to be overlooked the possibility of debris ingression. This is something which is quite possible at the gap where the two displays meet. Even though it is a 7 mm gap, it is enough for particles to enter inside the display.
In official words of iFixit:
"To achieve the fold, the thin bezel that surrounds (and protects) the screen leaves a gap where the two halves meet... This 7 mm gap doesn't seem like a huge deal, but it leaves the display exposed—so should something accidentally enter, it's curtains for the screen. When closed, the screen is protected—but the spine is flanked by massive gaps that our opening picks hop right into. These gaps are less likely to cause immediate screen damage, but will definitely attract dirt."
This is something which already been experienced by at least one tech reviewer. It happened with The Verge's Dieter Bohn where his Galaxy Fold unit had a bulge on the display and at the place where the two halves meet. It seems like debris went inside through the same gap iFixit folks are talking.
As of now, Samsung's official statements on the situation are awaited, especially regarding the future of the Galaxy Fold. If shipped in its current state, it does seem like there will always be a high risk of display getting damaged. It means if Samsung wants its foldable phone to have a prolonged lifespan, it will have to come up with something.