A foldable phone is already an admittedly impressive milestone for Samsung and the mobile market in general but the actual vision for such devices doesn’t stop there. Although not exactly essential to the concept of a foldable device, the use of a stylus on what looks like a digital book or notebook has almost become expected, especially if the Galaxy Z Fold is meant to replace the Galaxy Note line. That may finally happen next year but it will require a rather big change in Samsung’s S Pen technology.
Samsung has long been using Wacom’s technology to power its S Pen but Wacom itself actually has two technologies in wide use. There’s Electro Magnetic Resonance or EMR that it uses for its own display tablets as well as the Samsung S Pen. This particular technology employs a digitizer in the display itself and comes with the benefit of not requiring the stylus to have a power source, like a battery, for example.
The advantage, however, is that Samsung finds EMR-based styluses to be too hard and rigid which would scratch the soft surface of its foldable phone. According to The Elec’s sources, the company is now looking into using Active Electro Static or AES technology for the next S Pen in order to work around that limitation. In this case, it will be the stylus that will be driving things with the display as a passive receiver of events.
This will, however, require Samsung to develop a very different S Pen, one that will require a battery inside and some form of charging. Fortunately, Samsung does already has some experience in that regard but such a stylus would need a larger battery, more like a Galaxy Tab S7 than a Galaxy Note 20, and there will be no room for one inside the Galaxy Z Fold 3’s body.
Samsung will also reportedly double the thickness of its UTG (Ultra-Thin Glass) layer for good measure. The current one is already 30 micrometers thick and, while more durable than the Polyimide (PI) material from last year, is still prone to scratches even from fingernails, let alone a stylus.