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Why Samsung’s insecurities about its foldables bother me

Opinion
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Last updated: June 2nd, 2022 at 22:41 UTC+02:00

We discussed recently how Samsung’s foldable phone buyers are treated like second-class customers. It’s doing a less than stellar job with customer support for these devices, particularly for repairs.

All of Samsung’s foldable smartphones come with a pre-applied screen protector on the foldable display. Customers are actively discouraged from replacing the protector themselves. This screen protector tends to get scratched or it develops cracks over time and customers who are in the need of repairs are left hanging in the balance.

While it’s true that in some markets customers can get a same-day replacement, as long as customers visit the service center personally. In smaller markets, customers are required to leave their devices with Samsung for up to three days just to get the screen protector replaced. They’re advised to wipe their devices before shipping them to the company. It doesn’t offer a replacement device, putting customers in a spot of bother.

We asked Samsung for a statement on the matter a few weeks ago but haven’t heard back yet. Imagine having to make backups and wipe your device every single time you need to get the screen protector replaced.

If you send the device in with all of your data, it’s a major privacy issue. On any other Samsung device, you can rip out the existing protector and slap a new one on there multiple times a day without breaking a sweat.

These are completely unnecessary hoops to jump through for customers who have taken a chance on the company’s most ambitious, and some of its most expensive, devices yet. This is quite simply not a solution to a very common problem that smartphone owners face. There would be no bigger testament to the durability of the foldable series if it becomes fine for owners to change the screen protector on their own.

Samsung’s insistence to gatekeep screen protector replacement for these devices worries me. It almost feels to me that the company has insecurities about the durability of the display. You’ll normally need to apply some pressure on the display when applying a new screen protector to get a good fit and remove any air bubbles that might have formed under the surface.

You’ll do exactly the same thing on a foldable display if you wanted to change its protector. Perhaps Samsung feels that these displays are still too fragile to be left at the mercy of do-it-yourself screen protector replacement. Be that as it may, this has to work, because this shouldn’t be a concession users need to make if they choose to buy a foldable smartphone over a conventional device.

I remain confident that Samsung will be able to come up with a solution that eliminates this pet peeve a lot of its customers have. There’s no doubt about it. A self-repair solution for the screen protector on foldable displays needs to come.

If Samsung doesn’t want to do that, then perhaps it can make specialized tools available to third-party repair shops. At least then users will be able to walk into their local phone repair shop and get the protector fixed quickly, without having to wipe their device or give it up for several days. That’s just unacceptable.

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