Galaxy Fold protective film critical to keeping screen intact

Some have been warning against going out to buy first-gen experimental devices because of potential problems that may surprise early adopters. But if you're offered a free review unit, why not, right? That was definitely the case with some select personalities Samsung has chosen to become the first recipients of its Galaxy Fold foldable smartphone. Unfortunately for both Samsung and the proud new owners, they are also the first ones to encounter a glaring problem with a rather simple cause: a protective film.

Some manufacturers today, particularly Chinese OEMs, ship with screen protectors already installed. Some owner don't take to kindly to a sheet of plastic standing in between them and their phones. Other prefer a "better" solution like tempered glass. Usually, removing that pre-installed protector has no impact on the phone. Unfortunately, that's not the case for the Galaxy Fold.

Complaints about broken foldable displays have started going around the Web, possibly sending Samsung's PR department into a panic. These Galaxy Folds started malfunctioning just a day after owners' first impressions went up. What those complaints may not have mentioned was that they removed the protective film on the display, thinking it was just like any other screen protector. Unfortunately, that's not the case with the Galaxy Fold.

According to Samsung, that protective film is actually crucial to the display's integrity and that removing it can actually endanger the screen. And it isn't just about protecting it from scratches either. Here's a spokesperson's statement in full:

"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."

Unfortunately, that information wasn't clearly conveyed to these early reviewers. The warning appeared on the plastic packaging of the phone that barely anyone reads. Samsung will now have to do some PR damage control to assure actual buyers that they won't suffer the same fate, provided they keep that protective film on.