Flexible Glass for Folding Phones Is Probably Still Years Away

Corning Is Reportedly Developing a Glass Variant Specifically Made for Foldable Smartphones – Could Apple Use This Instead of Plastic?

Corning Is Reportedly Developing a Glass Variant Specifically Made for Foldable Smartphones – Could Apple Use This Instead of Plastic?

Instead, the Galaxy Fold and Huawei's Mate X use plastic polymers, which can flex repeatedly but are also prone to scratching and creases. However, the now available glass can't fold enough to make it suitable for folding phones.

The foldable phone is very much the hot property right now. The company is known for its Gorilla Glass, which is used on screens to protect them from scratches and small drops; now Corning says that it is working on foldable glass. Currently, there's no feasible way to mass produce a glass panel that can fold the way companies need in order to create foldable products.

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According to John Bayne, the head of Corning's Gorilla Glass division, the company is working on super-thin glass which can be bent to a 5mm radius several hundreds of thousands of times. The molecular structure of glass, even this flexible variety, is more stable than plastic. Unsurprisingly, salt corrodes the transistors needed to make a display work, meaning Willow Glass isn't suitable for foldable phone displays. However, Corning is apparently aiming to overcome that particular issue to allow phone glass to be made in such a way that it too can be folded. Willow Glass alone can't be used on phones because it is dipped in a salt solution during the manufacturing process. "We are working with our customers on this challenge and are now sampling our development glass with them to optimize the product for their design requirements".

But with Japan's AGC having announced previous year that its foldable glass had already achieved a Corning-besting bend radius of 2.5mm without cracking, Apple - and Samsung and the rest of the field of foldable smartphone makers - might soon have options to choose from. It expects its bendable glass to be ready when "foldable smartphones go mainstream", which could still take a few years. "We can give them one or the other; the key is to give them both".

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