Here’s your quick, fun, sometimes serious, and always interesting daily tech digest, by way of the DGiT Daily newsletter, for Thursday, April 18, 2019!

1.Samsung Galaxy Fail: Folding screen might be too fragile to be sold, just yet

The Samsung Galaxy Fold is having a meltdown moment – three reviewers from major tech publications posted to Twitter that their Galaxy Fold devices had broken in some way:

  • Reviewers at The Verge, CNBC, and Bloomberg tweeted images or video of their broken devices, pulled together in the above gif.
  • Mark Gurman from Bloomberg and YouTuber MKBHD admitted they’d actually removed a plastic protective layer on their screen, which seems like it contributed greatly to the problems their experiences.
  • Both suggested consumers would do the same. It just looks like the plastic that we’re used to peeling off new devices.
  • But that only explains half of the breakages – Steve Kovach from CNBC said his just died without anything explanation at all, while Dieter Bohn at The Verge said his problem came from just having it in his pocket with normal use.
  • As Bogdan from Android Authority told me, “If tech reviewers are running into these issues, presumably after having sessions with Samsung where the device is carefully explained, you can imagine what regular people will be doing.”

The question: Is this a crisis or a first-generation device?

A brand new $2000 device breaking within a day or two of normal usage is bad. You don’t need me to tell you that. How bad it is, how fragile it is, remains the question:

  • Pre-orders for the device have sold out, and it’s coming on April 26th, in little more than a week.
  • Samsung won’t be able to make any changes, so if it’s an immensely fragile device, that’s just what it is.
  • How Samsung handle the problem is the real question. Early devices like the $1500 Google Glass had all kinds of issues, and Google had a direct hotline to call about issues.
  • Somebody has to be the first to release a folding device. The Royole Flexpai was roundly rubbished for being buggy, but it was first. Taking a chance counts for something!

Best/worst outcomes from here:

  • The best case is that the device is imperfect, will require much higher warranty claims than usual, and Samsung will offer replacements, learn from the problems, and make the next edition much more capable.
  • The worst case is that Samsung feels the issues are too great, and cancels it completely, and offers refunds.

What Samsung is saying now:

A Samsung spokesperson told us:

“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.

Separately, a few reviewers reported having removed the top layer of the display causing damage to the screen. 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. 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.”

  • So for now, Samsung is saying don’t remove the plastic and we’re investigating.
  • It looks like early-stage damage-limitation – acknowledge the issue, point out that it’s just a “few” “initial” reports, and also deflect the blame to those that ripped off the plastic.
  • And for now, Samsung is sticking to the April 26th release.
  • But if we see a tonne of consumers with the device all sending tweets of their device being broken, things may get out of hand.

A shame:

  • The great shame is encapsulated in Android Authority’s hands-on initial look, with video, which summed up the issue: Amazing, and equally concerning, although, thankfully, didn’t encounter any issues.

Also, here’s TechCrunch’s detail of its second day with the Galaxy Fold, which offers technical issue-free insight into the post-novelty of the Fold. Including it surviving an accidental drop, battery life updates, and more.

2. OnePlus founder teases OnePlus 7 on Twitter, says ‘smooth’ four times. All leaks so far are guessing this means 90Hz refresh rate displays, which will mean smoother video performance and playback (Android Authority).

3. Oppo Reno hands-on: A shark-fin selfie shooter and 10x hybrid zoom (AA).

4. Microsoft’s new and more portable Surface Hub 2S interactive whiteboard ships in June, for $9,000 (TechCrunch).

5. Apple’s secretive Project Titan is reportedly is working hard on next-generation lidar sensors for self-driving cars (Reuters).

6. YouTube’s CEO gave a number of interviews to the NY Times in response to its toxic content problem. The Times headline: “The most measured person in tech Is running the most chaotic place on the internet”.

7. Google accused of intentionally sabotaging Firefox, again (TechSpot).

8. Facebook is working on a voice assistant to rival Alexa/Siri/Google (CNBC).

9. Automating food from farm to front door, and in the kitchen (Axios).

10. Ubisoft offers Assassin’s Creed Unity on PC for free for a week so you can see Notre-Dame Cathedral (TechRadar). (April 18th at 00:00 to April 25th at 17:00 – your local time.)

11. Astronomers discover the universe’s very first molecule in dying star: helium hydride or HeH+ (CNET).

12. “I found two identical packs of Skittles, among 468 packs with a total of 27,740 Skittles” (Possibly Wrong).

13. “Does acid rain still happen in the United States? I haven’t heard anything about it in decades.” (r/askscience).

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