Samsung is at the bleeding edge with the Galaxy Fold, and we forget too easily that first-generation products are rarely perfect

Hollis Johnson/Business InsiderCritics are right to point out the flaws in the Galaxy Fold. But we should also be rooting for smartphone makers who are endeavouring into foldable smartphones.
  • Samsung is getting a lot of negative attention regarding issues with the Galaxy Fold‘s display, which some reviewers reported started breaking after just two days.
  • The Galaxy Fold is the first of its kind in the smartphone world, which often means that issues are bound to pop up, and many people’s expectation are too high for the first foldable smartphone, and Samsung, as well.
  • As a first-generation device, only early adopters should consider the Galaxy Fold, and early adopters should understand the risks of buying the first generation of anything.
  • Critics have a point, but let’s also root for Samsung, companies that are making foldable smartphones, and foldable smartphones in general.
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Samsung is surely feeling the heat for the issues that some reviewers were having with their Galaxy Fold review units, but I’m not surprised at all that the Galaxy Fold is facing issues – it’s a first-generation product from a company that’s at the bleeding edge of smartphone design, and I’d argue expectations are a little too high.

It would have been great if the device was flawless. But it shouldn’t be surprising that there are issues with the very first smartphone that people can buy that comes with a completely new, unproven design with many more moving parts than a traditional smartphone.

Read more: Samsung’s Galaxy Fold is an ambitious but flawed first attempt at what could be the future of smartphones

It’s easy to understand why expectations are high. Samsung is marketing the Galaxy Fold the same way its other proven phones are being marketed. And the Galaxy Fold costs just under $US2,000, so anyone would expect reliability at that price.

Samsung Galaxy FoldHollis Johnson/Business Insider

But the Galaxy Fold is nothing like Samsung’s long-proven Galaxy S line of smartphones. It’s the first generation of something new, which means anyone who buys it now can be classified as an “early adopter.”

It’s too easy to forget the unwritten rules of early adoption, or that a first-generation device comes with a ton of risks. By nature, early adopters should hope for the best and expect the worst. After all, Samsung isn’t going to plaster warnings all over the Galaxy Fold’s packaging saying, “For early adopters who accept the risk of early adopting only. Buy at your own risk.”

The best way to sell a first-generation device is to ensure that it’s reliable. As far as we know, Samsung believed the Galaxy Fold was ready to go. The company said it tested the Galaxy Fold’s display durability enough to claim that it will last up to 200,000 folds and unfolds. There’s even a great video showing Galaxy Folds undergoing stress testing:

Buying the first ever model of almost anything isn’t always the right thing to do

I don’t predict reviewers to recommend anyone buy the Galaxy Fold, not because of the display issues, but because it’s a first-generation device.

Popular tech YouTuber Marques Brownlee has already declared that he wouldn’t recommend it to most people, even though he thinks the concept is great. The Galaxy Fold costs $US2,000 – $US1,000 more than most premium smartphones – and I’d be extremely surprised if Samsung “got it right” the first time.

Samsung Galaxy FoldHollis Johnson/Business Insider

Even if the Galaxy Fold was flawless and received rave reviews, there is no doubt in my mind that early adopters who accept the risks are the only people who should even think about buying the Galaxy Fold.

There’s just so much more to come in following generations of foldable smartphones, like better designs, more durable displays, more reasonable price tags, and perhaps an entirely different take on how foldable smartphones should actually fold. No smartphone maker has figured that out yet – Huawei and Motorola, for example, are working on their own foldable smartphones with totally different designs.

Critics are right to point out the flaws in the Galaxy Fold. But we should also be rooting for smartphone makers who are endeavouring into foldable smartphones, and not judging those companies or foldable smartphones based on the very first model that people can buy.

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