Now that Samsung has announced that it has made changes to the Galaxy Fold and will rerelease it this September, the next question is: should anybody trust it enough to buy it? We can’t really answer that question until we review it (again), but we do have an answer to another question: will carriers trust it enough to sell it? We asked T-Mobile and AT&T, the US carriers that originally announced they’d carry the Fold in stores or online. AT&T isn’t saying anything definitive yet, but we got an unambiguous answer from a T-Mobile spokesperson:
T-Mobile will not carry the Galaxy Fold because we already offer customers a wide range of the latest smartphones. Please reach out to Samsung for any further inquiries.
That’s probably about as close to shade as you’re going to get in the buttoned-up world of PR speak with two big companies that regularly partner with each other. It’s not a surprise, but T-Mobile has had a reputation for being more willing to take flyers on new and different Android devices than other big US carriers. It was the first major US carrier to pick up OnePlus phones, for example.
It turns out — and I am deeply sorry for this — that T-Mobile knows when to walk away.
To be clear, we still expect the unlocked version of the rereleased Fold to work fine on all four major US carriers. But when it was originally announced, only T-Mobile and AT&T committed to selling the phone. Both had to cancel preorders, and it was kind of a confusing mess there for a while.
T-Mobile was also the only carrier to realize that the “protective layer” on the original Galaxy Fold was problematic enough to warrant a label warning not to peel it off, as you can see in this tweet from Desmond Smith, director of creative content at T-Mobile:
As for AT&T, it doesn’t have anything official to share yet, but it did say it was still working with Samsung. Perhaps that means the company was nearly as surprised as we were by Samsung’s announcement that the Fold is fixed, and it still needs to get units in to run through its own tests. Even if AT&T does end up carrying the Fold again, it’s not a great look for Samsung to have rushed up an announcement at 9PM ET last night without looping in its major US carrier partners.
Samsung claims it has made several improvements to the screen and hinge that should protect the Fold from being so easily damaged. It extended that protective layer “beyond the bezel” so it doesn’t look like a thing you should peel off. It also added “additional reinforcements” around the hinge to stop debris from getting in.
The Fold is expected to be released in September, but we don’t have a specific date yet. I doubt there will be much fanfare when it does come out: September is the same month that the new iPhone is usually released, so Samsung would have a hard time getting much attention even if it wanted it. We’ll let you know if we get anything more concrete from AT&T or Samsung on retail sales for the Fold.