Following a false-start in April that derailed the Galaxy Fold’s launch just days before its launch, Samsung has announced that its next-generation handset will begin shipping in Korea on Friday, Sept. 6, and the U.S. on Sept. 26.
As previously detailed, Samsung has preformed a number of changes to the device following several issues with the initial design. Several early reviewers experienced issues ranging from flickering to debris getting stuck under the screen, and in response, Samsung has implemented improvements which it says will “ensure consumers have the best possible experience.” The fixes include:
The top protective layer of the display has been extended beyond the bezel, so people won’t accidentally try to remove it.
The top and bottom hinges have been strengthened with protection caps to keep out dust and debris.
Additional metal layers have been added under the display to make it sturdier and less prone to denting.
The space between the hinge and body has been reduced to guard against debris.
While those changes are significant, the one buyers will instantly notice is the lack of color choices. The Galaxy Fold is only available in black and silver this time around, ditching the blue and yellow-green hues that were originally offered. Otherwise, the phone is same, with a 4.6-inch outside screen and a 7.3-inch inside one. It’s just as thick as before as well (17mm) and has the same six cameras, two of which are included in a notch on the inside display. And it still doesn’t have a headphone jack.
But the design tweaks aren’t the only thing that’s new about the Galaxy Fold. Samsung is also launching the Galaxy Fold Premier Service, which will offer personalized support for buyers of the phone. Samsung says more details will be available “in the coming weeks,” but the program appears to be limited to the U.S.
Galaxy Fold Premium Service will give consumers “direct access to Samsung experts who can provide you tailored guidance and support over the phone any time, any day.” That includes “an optional one-on-one onboarding session” that will walk buyers through the phone and help them learn the ins and outs of the new device.
While details are light, it sounds similar to Google’s 24/7 support for Pixel owners. Since Samsung doesn’t have a fleet of retail stores like Apple or Microsoft, the support offered here will presumably be phone, text, and/or video based, letting users quickly get answers to questions 24 hours a day. It’s the kind of perk that should come with a $2,000 phone, but it might not be limited to Galaxy Fold. In its press release Samsung teases that it will be sharing more information about “this exciting new chapter for consumers—and the entire mobile industry.”
Granted, that could just be marketing fluff, but it sounds like the Premium Service won’t be limited to the Galaxy Fold. If Samsung plans on bundling 24/7 personalized support into future Galaxy phone, it could set a new standard for what customers expect from their phones, whether they fold or not. As more Galaxy phones top the $1,000 mark, a level of bundled service could bring more value than a larger screen or more storage.
We all expected the Galaxy Fold to usher in a new era of smartphone, but as it turns out, it might not be the folding display that does it—it might be the service that comes along with it.
Michael Simon has been covering Apple since the iPod was the iWalk. His obsession with technology goes back to his first PC—the IBM Thinkpad with the lift-up keyboard for swapping out the drive. He's still waiting for that to come back in style tbh.