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Week-in-Review: is Samsung unfolding another flop?

Stop me if youve heard this one before. Samsung tries to deliver a big innovation and fails miserably.
A big story this week on TechCrunch was that in the buildup to the release of the Samsung Galaxy Fold, potentially one of the weirdest, most innovative, most expensive phones shipped in the past decade, there are some signs that this could be a momentous failure. Samsung only sent out about a dozen review units to press outlets, and three of them seemed to fail for three distinct reasons.
Does this inspire much faith in the durability of the $1,980 hardware (which has already sold out in pre-orders)? Not quite.
A limited number of early Galaxy Fold samples were provided to media for review. We have received a few reports regarding the main display on the samples provided. We will thoroughly inspect these units in person to determine the cause of the matter, a Samsung spokesperson publicly detailed, responding to the issues.
Week-in-Review: is Samsung unfolding another flop?

This nascent scandal may lead you to recall the Note 7 debacle, which earned Samsung what was perhaps the worst free advertising ever, with the FAA mandating just about every domestic flight begin with the pilot ensuring that the plane was Note 7-free. A phone spontaneously dying is a cake walk compared to a phablet bomb, but well see whether this was just a big pre-release fluke and the consumer units prove more durable. That said, a failure rate of around 25 percent for models sent to journalists after a few days doesnt inspire the greatest confidence.
Brian seemed to have some pretty nice things to say about his early time with the device

Unfolding the Samsung Galaxy Fold:

Hands-on with the $2,000 foldable



I will say I did get a chance to fumble around with the Fold this week while our hardware editor Brian Heater was in town, and I personally found the device pretty inspiring. The screen on his still-functioning device is really quite beautiful and it all just feels like an innovative approach, even if its very first-gen at its heart.
Its good qualities all rely on the device continuing to function though, so I wont get too complimentary until we get some further clarity on that.
Week-in-Review: is Samsung unfolding another flop?

Trends of the week


Here are a few big news items from big companies, with links to all the sweet, sweet added context.



Apple + Intel Qualcomm = best friends

The two companies finally put aside their royalties and patent troll skirmishes, and various media reports suggest Apples mobile mea culpa was all about accepting Qualcomms command on 5G modems something the iPhone giant really couldnt afford to overlook. It was great news for Qualcomm, which had a major stock rally this week, but probably bad news for Intel, which seemed to be embracing a renewed and improved relationship with Apple as it tried to replace Qualcomms tech. Oh well.




TikToks shock block

Chinese company ByteDances cross-border hit TikTok hit a major stumbling block in India after a judge there ruled that app downloads had to be halted on iOS and Android following a number of issues regarding porn and other illegal content. There are 120 million existing TikTok users in India, but they shouldnt be affected, as the service itself has not been banned you just wont find them in the app stores there.




Move slow, still break things

Twitters CEO Jack Dorsey continued his ill-advised public speaking tour with a chat at TED, where he first said he isnt sure hed build Twitter the same way if he got a second shot. If I had to start the service again, I would not emphasize the follower count as much I dont think I would create likes in the first place. In response to a question about his lack of urgency in fixing some of Twitters more egregious problems, Dorsey said, We are working as quickly as we can, but quickness will not get the job done Its focus, its prioritization, its understanding the fundamentals of the network.




Sony teases an 8K PS5 Xbox loses a slot

While Google is betting on a world without dedicated high-end gaming hardware with its Stadia game-streaming platform, Xbox is betting on a future without physical media. Microsoft released the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition this week for $249. The company has been piping out mid-generation upgrades for Xbox One, and this is its most minor hardware update there are almost no differences beyond the disc drive. Meanwhile, PlayStation kind of stole Xboxs press lunch by giving some details on the PS5. Also on the gaming front, a report suggests Apple is spending more than $500 million on its Arcade gaming subscription service.




Shoot me tips or feedback

on Twitter @lucasmtny or email

lucas@techcrunch.com



Week-in-Review: is Samsung unfolding another flop?
Image: Bryce Durbin / TechCrunch
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