Tech

Samsung delays its $2,000 folding phone after test units break

Key Points
  • Samsung's Galaxy Fold is delayed past its original April 26 launch date.
  • The Galaxy Fold began breaking last week while reviewers were testing it.
  • Samsung says the phones broke when some reviewers removed a screen protector on the device. Other devices broke after "substances" were found inside devices that affected performance.
Samsung's Galaxy Fold screen is broken after just two days of use. This phone costs $2,000.
TodD Haselton | CNBC

Samsung has delayed the release of the Galaxy Fold past the original April 26 launch date, the company told CNBC in a statement.

Samsung said that the Galaxy Fold "needs further improvements" before it releases the phone to consumers, and that it will continue to evaluate feedback it received from reviewers and further test the phone. Samsung said it will announce a new release date "in the coming weeks."

A spokesperson told CNBC that "no customer who pre-ordered the device is charged until the device actually ships" and that customers "are able to cancel at any time."

The Galaxy Fold is the first foldable phone to launch in the United States, but early review units, including one tested by CNBC, were breaking.

After just two days of use, the screen on CNBC's test unit began flickering and then stopped working completely. Other reviewers noticed similar issues but had removed a protective film on top of the screen. CNBC did not remove that film. CNBC returned the device to Samsung, but the company has yet to explain why the unit broke.

Samsung said it looked at the units that broke and determined some had "substances" inside them that affected display performance. It also said some devices were damaged by impacts around the hinge. CNBC did not drop our test unit and did not expose it to any substances that could get inside the phone.

"We will take measures to strengthen the display protection. We will also enhance the guidance on care and use of the display including the protective layer so that our customers get the most out of their Galaxy Fold," Samsung said in the staement.

Samsung began taking preorders for the $1,980 Galaxy Fold earlier this month. The device will also be sold by Best Buy, AT&T, T-Mobile and Samsung store locations around the United States.

Here's the Samsung's full statement:

We recently unveiled a completely new mobile category: a smartphone using multiple new technologies and materials to create a display that is flexible enough to fold. We are encouraged by the excitement around the Galaxy Fold.

While many reviewers shared with us the vast potential they see, some also showed us how the device needs further improvements that could ensure the best possible user experience.

To fully evaluate this feedback and run further internal tests, we have decided to delay the release of the Galaxy Fold. We plan to announce the release date in the coming weeks.

Initial findings from the inspection of reported issues on the display showed that they could be associated with impact on the top and bottom exposed areas of the hinge. There was also an instance where substances found inside the device affected the display performance.

We will take measures to strengthen the display protection. We will also enhance the guidance on care and use of the display including the protective layer so that our customers get the most out of their Galaxy Fold.

We value the trust our customers place in us and they are always our top priority. Samsung is committed to working closely with customers and partners to move the industry forward. We want to thank them for their patience and understanding.

Samsung also postponed a launch event for the Galaxy Fold in China.

VIDEO2:4702:47
A look at the Samsung Galaxy Fold phone features, before it broke