SEOUL: Samsung announced Thursday it will inspect units of its highly anticipated folding smartphone after some reviewers reported screen damage.
A handful of US-based reporters were given the flagship Galaxy Fold phones, priced at $1,980, ahead of the model’s official release next week, and they reported screen issues within days of using the devices.
“The screen on my Galaxy Fold review unit is completely broken and unusable just two days in,” Bloomberg’s Mark Gunman tweeted.
And Dieter Bohn of The Verge said: “Something happened to my Galaxy Fold screen and caused a bulge… It’s broken.”
Samsung spent nearly eight years developing the Galaxy Fold, which is part of the South Korean tech giant’s strategy to propel growth with groundbreaking gadgets.
“We will thoroughly inspect these units in person to determine the cause of the matter,” Samsung said in a statement after reports of the screen damage emerged.
The firm suggested some reviewers encountered screen failures because a section of the display was removed.
“The main display on the Galaxy Fold features a top protective layer, which is part of the display structure designed to protect the screen from unintended scratches,” it said.
“Removing the protective layer or adding adhesives to the main display may cause damage. We will ensure this information is clearly delivered to our customers.”
Some of the reviewers, including Bloomberg’s Gunman, had removed this layer.
CNBC’s Steve Kovach said he had not, but still faced major problems with the device.
Samsung is the world’s biggest smartphone maker, and earlier this month launched the 5G version of its top-end Galaxy S10 device.
But despite the recent announcements about its new high-end devices, Samsung has warned of a more than 60 percent plunge in first-quarter operating profit in the face of weakening markets.
The firm is also no stranger to device issues.
Its reputation suffered a major blow after a damaging worldwide recall of its Galaxy Note 7 devices over exploding batteries in 2016, which cost the firm billions of dollars and shattered its global brand image.
Samsung has said it will release the Galaxy Fold as scheduled on April 26.
China slams US ‘lies’ about Huawei-government ties
BEIJING: Beijing on Friday accused the United States of spreading “lies” about Huawei after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the telecom giant was not being truthful about its ties to the Chinese government.
Huawei has been thrust at the centre of escalating tensions between the world’s two top economies, with President Donald Trump saying Thursday the fate of the company could be included in any deal to resolve their trade war.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said he was not aware of the “specifics” of Trump’s comments and repeated that dialogue must be based on “mutual respect”.
The Trump administration has infuriated Beijing by blacklisting the smartphone and telecommunications company over worries that China uses it as a tool for espionage and allegations of breaking Iran related sanctions.
Huawei has repeatedly denied that it works with the Communist-led government.
“To say that they don’t work with the Chinese government is a false statement,” Pompeo said.
Lu said US politicians have spread rumours about Huawei without providing evidence.
SpaceX launches first satellites of its internet network
WASHINGTON: SpaceX on Thursday launched a rocket containing the first 60 satellites of its “Starlink” constellation, which is intended to provide internet from space and could one day number 12,000 satellites.
One of the company’s Falcon 9 rockets took off without incident from Cape Canaveral in Florida around 10:30 pm (0230 GMT).
The second stage of the rocket will begin to release them one hour after launch, at an altitude of 270 miles (440 kilometers), and then the satellites will use their thrusters to take up their places in a relatively low orbit of 340 miles (550 kilometers).
That’s slightly higher than the International Space Station, but well below the majority of terrestrial satellites, the highest of which sit in a geostationary orbit of 22,400 miles (36,000 kilometers).
The launch was originally scheduled for last week but was postponed, first due to high winds and then due to the need for a software update.
Billionaire Elon Musk’s firm, which is leading the private space race when it comes to rocket launches, is now looking to seize a chunk of the future space internet market.
The launch will make it an early forerunner, along with rival OneWeb, a startup, but well ahead of Amazon’s Project Kuiper, the brainchild of Musk’s space rival Jeff Bezos.
Each of the satellites weighs just 227 kilograms (500 pounds) and was built in-house in Redmond, near Seattle.
Starlink will become operational once 800 satellites have been activated, which will require a dozen more launches.
Boeing 737 MAX: Regulators fail to set return to service date
FORT WORTH (US): Civil aviation regulators from around the world failed to make a determination Thursday on when Boeing’s popular 737 MAX aircraft can return to the skies after being grounded following two deadly crashes.
“The only timetable is to make sure the aircraft is safe to fly,” Daniel Elwell, acting head of the US Federal Aviation Administration, said at the conclusion of the day-long meeting in Texas.
There was “enthusiastic agreement to continue the dialogue,” he said, but acknowledged that “each country has to make its own decision.”
Until the 737 MAX crashes in Ethiopia in March and Indonesia in October which left a combined 346 people dead, the common practice was that air regulators would follow the assessment of the agency overseeing the model, in this case, the FAA.
On Wednesday, Elwell threw cold water on hopes of a speedy resolution, after revealing that Boeing had held off submitting a proposed software fix for review after his agency raised additional questions.
Investigators have focused on the MAX’s anti-stall Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System in inquiries into the two deadly crashes.
Boeing last week said the MCAS update was ready for the certification process, and US airlines were hoping the planes could be back in the skies in time for part of the summer travel season.
But Elwell on Thursday said the process could take one month, two months or longer.
“It is all determined by what we find in our analysis of the application,” he told the Media.
Once Boeing has submitted all documentation, the FAA will conduct a test flight and detailed analysis to evaluate the safety of the software.
Richard Aboulafia, an aviation analyst at Teal Group, said Boeing wants to avoid having to repeat the process.
“There’s a lot at stake in terms of the first impression by the world’s regulators,” he told the Media.
US air carriers that operate the 737 MAX, including American Airlines, Southwest and United, have said they hope to have the planes flying again by mid-August at the latest.