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Samsung will replace Galaxy S8 units with red screens if software fix fails

Following early complaints from customers claiming their brand new Galaxy S8 handsets are affected by an unusual red tint on the screen, Samsung has vowed to release an a software update that will purportedly solve the issue.

Speaking to South Korean outlet The Investor, a company official said the tech giant will refrain from revealing a “specific date yet, but the update will occur next week at the latest.”

“The company has already notified its nationwide customer service centers that it will release the software for fine-tuning the color balance,” the official continued.

In case the software update fails to eliminate the reddish tint, Samsung will proceed to replace affected devices with new handsets, according to the publication.

The Investor also had a chance to speak with several experts to discuss what could be causing the red tint. While some suggest a software update could very well correct the color disbalance, most remain skeptical this is a viable solution, hinting the root cause might be hardware-related.

One expert said discoloration mishaps are quite common in the industry:

Apple’s iPhones, as well as Samsung’s Galaxy S and Notes had similar issues, such as yellow-tinted screens, and vertical red lines on the display. This has to do with the manufacturing process. For OLED panels, it’s difficult to evenly deposit luminescent organic materials on panels, and this can cause discoloring.

The sentiment was seconded by another person familiar with the matter:

There could be a cross-contamination of red, green, and blue sub-pixels. For Samsung’s OLED panels, each pixel is made of a combination of red and green sub-pixels or blue and green sub-pixels. A crosstalk of those three types of sub-pixels can contaminate the panel colors.

Commenting on the possibility of fixing the reddish screens with software-related solutions, a plant employee said that:

It would be difficult to correct the problem with a software update because it is likely to be related to chronic manufacturing problems involving the uneven appliance of pixels. This has been a thorny issue for a while now, and unless this is solved, an update will only be a stopgap measure.

The claim was later also confirmed by an academic expert who insisted that:

Samsung probably tried the conventional methods to balance white tones for the latest smartphones. So I doubt software update can be a silver bullet to the problem. However, some experts I talked to believe a software update would be enough to balance out the reddish display to the extent that consumers are satisfied.

Meanwhile, Samsung began shipping its new Galaxy S8 flagship to global markets earlier today, which means we’ll know precisely how widespread the red tint is soon enough – or whether it could be fixed with a simple software tweak.

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Published April 21, 2017 — 13:40 UTC