Samsung’s decision to delay the release of the nearly $2,000 foldable phone will hurt its brand reputation in the short term, but the flagging smartphone industry is still betting on the tech giant to produce a winner, analysts said Tuesday.
The South Korean electronics firm was set to launch its Galaxy Fold smartphone on April 26. After some reviewers, including CNBC’s Todd Haselton, encountered issues with early testing units, Samsung said Monday the phone “needs further improvements” before it’s released to customers. The company added that a new release date will be announced “in the coming weeks.”
Samsung shares traded down 0.33% Tuesday afternoon, tracking below the South Korean benchmark index, Kospi, which traded near flat.
If the phone’s launch is delayed for too long, it will be a cause for concern among stakeholders, according to Daniel Yoo, head of global strategy and research at Kiwoom Securities. He told CNBC by email that Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S10 is seen as a “very satisfactory” device, but the launch of the foldable phone will determine if the world’s largest smartphone maker can remain a leader in the sector and continue to play an important role in technology advancement.
“I expect Samsung to solve all the problems before the newly announced official launch date, and the date will be most likely before the end of 2Q2019,” he said, referring to the three months that will end in June. “I doubt that the delay will be for long period of time given it had experience of Note 7 launch.”
Bob O’Donnell, president, founder and chief analyst at Technalysis Research, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Tuesday that the delay will hit Samsung’s brand.
“Granted, it’s going to hit the brand, but I don’t think it’s a killer. It’s not like the Note 7 battery issue or anything like that,” he said, adding the smartphone giant needs “to get this right.”
In 2016, Samsung experienced one of the worst technology recalls in recent times after some of its faulty Galaxy Note 7 devices suffered battery malfunctions and spontaneously caught fire.