Samsung to launch foldable smartphone in September

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Samsung senior vice president of product marketing Justin Denison speaks on stage about the company's new foldable phone during the Samsung Unpacked product launch event in San Francisco, California, in this Feb. 20, 2019 file photo. — AFP

SEOUL — South Korean electronics giant Samsung announced on Thursday it will release its cutting-edge foldable smartphone in September, despite a trade dispute between Seoul and Tokyo which analysts say will affect delivery.

Tokyo earlier this month restricted export to South Korea of several key materials crucial to its world-leading electronics and smartphone companies, including market leader Samsung.

The decision was made in response to a South Korean court decision ordering Japanese firms that used forced labor during World War II to compensate Korean victims.

Tokyo's move has raised international concern about the effect on global tech supply chains and the possibility of price hikes for consumers worldwide.

Samsung's Galaxy Fold is among the end products that will be affected as it relies on a chemical film produced by Japanese firm Sumitomo Chemical, said IHS Markit display research director Tadashi Uno.

Samsung had planned to launch the Fold in April, but pushed back the release date after early reviewers reported screen problems after just days of use.

The smartphone giant said it has "made improvements" to the device since then.

Samsung has spent nearly eight years developing the Fold in an effort to spark demand and potentially revive a sector that has been struggling for new innovations.

Tech companies are already under pressure from a weakening global outlook, while the chip sector in particular is suffering from weak demand. — AFP


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