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* Under U.S. rules, Samsung had to notify on likely pre-order cancellations
* Stumble is a blow to Samsung's efforts to showcase innovation (Add Samsung statement, background)
SEOUL, May 7 (Reuters) - Samsung Electronics said on Tuesday it cannot confirm the shipping date for its foldable device Galaxy Fold yet and apologized to its pre-order customers in the United States for the delay.
The world's top smartphone maker delayed global sales of the splashy $1,980 foldable phone after reviewers discovered problems with its display, dealing a setback to Samsung and its efforts to showcase its innovation.
"If we do not hear from you and we have not shipped by May 31st, your order will be canceled automatically," the South Korean tech giant's U.S. subsidiary told Galaxy Fold pre-order customers in an email late on Monday, which was confirmed by a Samsung spokeswoman.
As per U.S. regulations, Samsung was required to notify customers that the pre-orders would be canceled in the event the product had not been shipped by May. 31, it said in a separate statement to Reuters.
Though the issue does not hurt Samsungs balance sheet, the postponement damages the firms efforts to portray itself as an innovative first-mover, analysts have said.
Samsung has said it plans to make at least 1 million Fold handsets in the first year, versus the total 300 million phones it produces annually on average.
It closed Galaxy Fold pre-orders earlier due to what it said was high demand. (Reporting by Ju-min Park; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)