Foldable phones: Corning working on flexible glass as Samsung, Huawei embrace polymer design
Corning says its is working on flexible glass displays after Samsung and Huawei launch foldable phones with plastic-based displays.
Corning, one of Apple's iPhone glass suppliers, is working on flexible glass displays. The technology will allow Apple and other smartphone companies to launch superior foldable smartphones as Samsung and Huawei currently offer plastic polymer-based models.
According to a Wired report, Corning is developing an ultra-slim flexible glass which is about 0.1mm thick and can be bent to a 5mm radius. The glass maker, however, admits it's still trying to address some of the challenges such as ensuring glass retains its sturdiness after a long-term use.
"The back of the problem we're trying to break, the technical challenge, is, can you keep those tight 3- to 5-millimeter bend radii and also increase the damage resistance of the glass," John Bayne told the publication. "That's the trajectory we're on."
Even though Samsung and Huawei have succeeded in creating hype around foldable phones, these products are yet to be tested by real users. Also, these products are being marketed as 'luxury devices' with prices crossing $1900.
From technology point of view, Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X use plastic polymer which is indeed flexible but the same cannot be said about their durability. Experts are of the opinion that these models may crease over the time.
Motorola, which is also working on a Razer flip-phone-like foldable phone, also pointed out at the possible flaw in the first generation of commercial foldable phones.
"We have been testing a plastic OLED device with plastic film on top," Motorola VP of Global Product Dan Dery told Engadget last month. "The fact that you're touching [that kind of display] with your nails is scratching it. It has a short life right away; it starts dying the day you unpack it. But it's beautiful. That first day, it's beautiful."
Corning says it may take a few years for commercial foldable glass-based phones. Apple is said to be planning a foldable iPhone in 2020 and is already working with a few partners in Asia in this regard.