Today marks a milestone in the era of foldable smartphones as Samsung officially launched its famous first generation Galaxy Fold.
After four years on the market, the original Galaxy Fold will no longer receive regular security updates. To be fair, the first Fold was already on borrowed time, as it was left out of last year’s Android 13 update. However, when Samsung launched the expensive foldable, it promised a full four years of security updates for the device.
This was remarkably generous at a time when most flagship Android smartphones were lucky to see three years of updates, and non-flagships barely got one. Since then, many other Android manufacturers have increased the longevity of their devices by promising longer update cycles. For Samsung, that’s now four years of full Android OS upgrades and five years of security patches.
Galaxy Fold for so long, we hardly knew you
Yet, now it’s time to introduce the Galaxy Fold, the smartphone that signaled the beginning of the modern era of foldables — and showed that Samsung wasn’t afraid to repeat it in public.
When it first launched in early 2019, the Galaxy Fold was, to put it mildly, a disaster. Samsung’s CEO admitted that they had it out before it was completely ready, and early reviewers justified the device for being a very expensive prototype. There were some issues with the screen and hinge that made the smartphone more fragile than it should have been, making it unusable for many people.
Samsung canceled its initial launch plans and recalled all units shipped, and then went very quiet for a few months while it tried and figured out how to fix the problems. By July, it announced that it had been improved and that a better and more reliable version would be available in the near future.
The final form of the Galaxy Fold was still far from perfection, but at least it wasn’t breakable. It was still priced at an extremely high $2,000 for an experimental smartphone. While that gave you solid performance, good battery life, and a wide internal display, you also had to deal with a smaller external screen and a lack of the same durability found in Samsung’s other flagships. Although this wasn’t entirely Samsung’s fault, the software experience was also awkward; After all, foldables were in their infancy, and Android, even with most third-party developers, hadn’t fully embraced the idea.
Still, for all its shortcomings, Samsung’s Galaxy Fold wasn’t as important for its form as what it represented. It was Samsung’s first bold move into foldables, and it laid the foundation for everything that has come since – and not just from Samsung.
It would take another three years for Samsung to catch up with the release of the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Galaxy Z Flip 4, but other manufacturers watched and learned as well. In 2023, it looks like we’re ushering in a second era of foldable smartphones, with the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Galaxy Z Flip 5 as well as the Google Pixel Fold, OnePlus Open, and Motorola Razr Plus (and it’s more affordable) siblings. ), building on Samsung’s work.
There have never been so many great options in foldable smartphones, and we have the original Galaxy Fold to thank for that.