Samsung’s next-gen foldable phones are less than a month away from being revealed, but they might not be the only foldable phones coming soon. These foldable devices will succeed or fail depending on the material used to cover the sensitive, flexible screens. According to industry sources, those phones will make use of Ultra-Thin Glass or UTG from Samsung, and one of those phones will be made by Google.
Rumors about Google making its own foldable phone have been going around for more than a year now. It is not hard to imagine Google doing internal experiments with such devices, but coming out with a commercial foldable phone is a different matter entirely. Supply chain sources seem to be convinced that will indeed be the case, but the latest word doesn’t put a date on it just yet.
The tip given to The Elec reveals the different smartphone makers that will be sourcing their foldable screen’s protective film from Samsung. This, according to the report, will mark a shift away from the polyimide material used by Huawei and Xiaomi foldable phones earlier this year. Samsung already moved to UTG last year since the first Galaxy Z Flip pictured above.
Most of Samsung’s customers will be Chinese brands like Xiaomi and Vivo, who are expected to launch their foldable phones later this year. OPPO will also be joining the fray, but not until 2022. Google is also on that list, but the launch date of the 7.6-inch foldable phone hasn’t been determined yet.
It seems like a big opportunity for Samsung Display, but it might end up biting more than it can chew. Insiders claim that Samsung is sourcing the glass from both Corning and Schott, but each has its own disadvantage. Corning is reportedly still yielding low numbers for its OTG, while Schott’s glass is 20mm thinner than Corning’s, making it more susceptible to scratches. Regardless of the source, foldable screens are reportedly twice or even thrice more expensive than conventional OLED panels.