Samsung's next foldable smartphone, the Galaxy Fold 2, will also be its second such device in a row to utilize Ultra Thin Glass (UTG). At the same time, the industry giant is joining forces with Gorilla Glass manufacturer Corning in order to lower the price of this key foldable smartphone component. While Corning's solution is still in a developmental phase, sources familiar with the matter now believe its own take on bendable glass will be ready in time for 2021 mobile devices. Samsung first commercialized the foldable phone concept with polyimide, a type of plastics, before the Galaxy Z Flip saw it move to UTG from German manufacturer Schott earlier this year.
More specifically, South Korean insiders claim Samsung Display and Corning already agreed on terms for a new UTG supply chain in the U.S. While it remains to be seen how Corning's solution fares compared to the one from Schott, the move will undoubtedly result in lowered UTG production costs. Of course, there's no guarantee the savings from that overhead decrease will immediately be passed over to consumers.
A key step for Samsung's foldable smartphones
The main takeaway from today's report is that Samsung has now apparently decided to stick with UTG in the medium term, at least as far as its premium foldable smartphones are concerned. Only two months ago, the company still had doubts about UTG's viability in the context of Galaxy Fold 2 mass production. However, price was only one of the factors Samsung has been reevaluating in recent months. A much more immediate consideration was the added weight of the final product, South Korean insiders claimed.
Be that as it may, it now appears Samsung will stick with UTG for at least another foldable smartphone generation. It has already placed UTG orders for the Galaxy Fold 2, whereas its new U.S. supply chain run by Corning should at the very least reduce the production costs of the Galaxy Fold 3 and its other foldable smartphones planned for a 2021 release. Improving production efficiency is a key step in making such novel handsets mainstream seeing how devices priced at well over $1,000 can only dream of truly global popularity, which is always the end goal when you're a company the size of Samsung.
The Galaxy Fold 2 is expected to launch at a new Unpacked event in August, possibly along with the Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Tab S7.