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Week-in-Review: Is Samsung unfolding another flop?

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Samsung tries to consign an enormous innovation and fails miserably.

an enormous tale this week on TechCrunch was that in the buildup to the release of the Samsung star system Fold, potentially one of the weirdest, most innovative, most high-price phones shipped in the past decade, there are some signs that this could be a momentous failure. Samsung only sent out about a dozen review units to press outlets, and three of them seemed to fail for three dissimilar reasons.

Does this induce much faith in the durability of the $1,980 hardware (which has already sold out in pre-orders)? Not quite.

“a limited number of early star system 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,” a samsung spokesperson publicly detailed, responding to the issues.

Samsung star system Fold

This nascent scandal may guide you to recall the Note 7 debacle, which earned Samsung what was perhaps the worst free advertising ever, with the FAA mandating just about every domestic flight commence with the pilot ensuring that the plane was Note 7-free. a phone spontaneously dying is a cake walk compared to a phablet bomb, but we’ll see whether this was just an enormous pre-release fluke and the consumer units prove more durable. That said, a failure rate of around 25 percent for models sent to journalists after a few days doesn’t induce the greatest confidence.

Brian seemed to have some pretty nice things to say about his early moment with the gagdet:

I will say I did get a chance to fumble around with the Fold this week while our hardware editor Brian Heater was in town, and I personally found the gagdet pretty inspiring. The screen on his still-functioning gagdet is really quite pretty and it all just feels like an innovative reach, even if it’s very first-gen at its heart.

Its good qualities all rely on the gagdet continuing to function though, so I won’t get too complimentary until we get some further clarity on that.

apple vs qualcomm

Trends of the week

Here are a few enormous news items from enormous companies, with links to all the sweet, sweet added context.

  • Apple + Intel Qualcomm = best friends The two companies finally put aside their royalties and patent troll skirmishes, and various media reports suggest Apple’s mobile mea culpa was all about accepting Qualcomm’s control on 5G modems — something the iPhone giant really couldn’t afford to overlook. It was superb news for Qualcomm, which had a major stock rally this week, but probably evil news for Intel, which seemed to be embracing a renewed and improved relationship with Apple as it tried to replace Qualcomm’s tech. Oh well.
  • TikTok’s jolt block  Chinese company ByteDance’s cross-border knocked
    TikTok knocked
    a major stumbling block in India after a jury there ruled that app downloads had to be halted on iOS and robot following a number of issues regarding porn and other “felonious content.” There are 120 million existing TikTok users in India, but they shouldn’t be affected, as the service itself has not been banned — you just won’t find them in the app stores there.
  • Move sedate, still break things Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey continued his ill-advised public speaking tour with a chat at TED, where he first said he isn’t sure he’d build Twitter the same route if he got a second shot. “If I had to commence the service again, I would not emphasize the follower count as much … I don’t think I would create ‘likes’ in the first place.” In response to an ask about his lack of urgency in fixing some of Twitter’s more egregious problems, Dorsey said, “We are working as quickly as we can, but quickness will not get the job done… It’s focus, it’s prioritization, it’s understanding the fundamentals of the network.”
  • Sony teases a 8k PS5… Xbox loses a slot   While Google is betting on a world without dedicated high-end gaming hardware with its Stadia game-streaming platform, Xbox is betting on a future without physical media. Microsoft released the Xbox One S “All-Digital Edition” this week for $249. The company has been piping out mid-generation upgrades for Xbox One, and this is its most minor hardware update — there are almost no differences beyond the disc steer. Meanwhile, PlayStation kind of stole Xbox’s press lunch by giving some details on the PS5. Also on the gaming front, a report suggests Apple is spending more than $500 million on its Arcade gaming subscription service.

Shoot me tips or feedback
on Twitter @lucasmtny or email
lucas@techcrunch.com

lost passwords

graphic: Bryce Durbin / TechCrunch

GAFA Gaffes

How did the top tech companies screw-up this week? This clearly needs its own part, in order of awfulness:

  1. Facebook elaborates more on that “screwing over users’ privacy” thing it does from moment to moment:
    [Facebook now says its password leak affected ‘millions’ of Instagram users]
  2. YouTube managed to add its own conspiracy to videos of the Notre-Dame fire:
    [YouTube’s algorithm added 9/11 facts to a live stream of the Notre-Dame Cathedral fire]

more Crunch

Our premium subscription service has been off to a superb commence. I just kicked off my brand-new successions this week, “The Exit,” where I interview a guide investor in a recent exit. I talked to Bessemer’s Adam Fisher, who led Bessemer’s investments in non-stative Yield, which McDonald’s bought last month for $300 million.

The Exit: an ai startup’s McPivot

“The pivot from courting the grey lady to the golden arches isn’t as drastic as it sounds. In a lot of ways, it’s the result of the company learning to say ‘no’ to certain customers…”

Here are some of our other top reads this week for premium subscribers —

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