Facepalm: First Samsung said it sold one million Galaxy Folds. Then it said that number was a mistake, but would not disclose the correct the figure. Now it's saying that the device has somewhere between 400,000 and 500,000 in sales. Why are we getting the runaround about how the foldable smartphone is doing? Give us a number or don't say anything at all.
During CES 2020, Samsung CEO DJ Koh updated reporters on sales figures for the Galaxy Fold, but he seemed unsure precisely how many units were sold.
"I think we've sold 400,000 to 500,000 Galaxy Fold smartphones," Koh told Korean media outlet Yonhap News Agency.
The estimate seems somewhat ambiguous, considering Koh is in charge of Samsung's mobile division and should know the exact figures.
Last month, Samsung President and Chief Strategy Officer Young Sohn claimed that the company had sold one million Galaxy Folds, shattering its self-appointed goal of 500,000 units by the end of 2019. To be clear, the company's original target was one million devices by year's end but was adjusted to half that because of the failed April launch that set back the release of the Fold until September.
PSA: There's a layer that appears to be a screen protector on the Galaxy Fold's display. It's NOT a screen protector. Do NOT remove it.— Marques Brownlee (@MKBHD) April 17, 2019
I got this far peeling it off before the display spazzed and blacked out. Started over with a replacement. pic.twitter.com/ZhEG2Bqulr
A spokesperson later corrected Sohn, saying that he had confused the company's initial goal with actual sales — another faux pas that seemed like an attempt to generate hype. The spokesperson did not have an exact figure to correct Sohn's statement, and the company is remaining tight-lipped even with Koh's recent vague remark.
Perhaps Samsung does not want to admit that it missed its mark by as much as 100,000 units. Still, even 400,000 is a decent sales figure considering the device is $2,000 and is in a niche market that has yet to develop fully. It translates to $800 million in sales for a foldable smartphone that has had a very rocky launch, which isn't bad.
When review devices began breaking shortly before release, Samsung rightly canceled pre-orders and went back to the drawing board. However, the handling of the debacle from a PR standpoint has been a mess from the start with the company blaming the users and then continually being vague and misleading with consumers and the press about when the device would be ready.
Now that the Galaxy Fold has been out for a few months, the company is continuing its misleading (in Sohn's case) and vague (in Koh's) behavior about how the phone is doing. It seems likely we will have to wait until Samsung has to answer to investors to get any concrete figures.