There has been a lot of concern about the Galaxy Fold’s durability particularly after the company had to delay the release. It made improvements and released its first foldable smartphone in September. The Galaxy Fold has gone on to sell very well since then.
However, Samsung has been working to address a major durability concern for the Galaxy Fold 2. It has now inked a long-term exclusivity contract with a Korean supplier that could result in more durable foldable smartphones.
The Galaxy Fold 2 could be much more durable than its predecessor
The Galaxy Fold has a polyimide film on top of the flexible panel. It’s part and parcel of the display so if someone tries removing this film, they end up wrecking the display. That’s one of the reasons why Samsung delayed the launch. It tucked the film inside the frame so that it didn’t look like a screen protector that could be ripped off.
Samsung has been hedging its bets recently owing to the trade dispute between South Korea and Japan. The polyimide film it needs for the Galaxy Fold is only supplied by Japan’s Sumitomo and the government is now implementing strict export controls for South Korea. So there’s more than one reason for Samsung to look for an alternative.
Korean supplier DoInsys has been working on ultra-thin tempered glass technology, one that can actually fold without breaking. The company has already received a significant amount of money from Samsung’s investment division which shows that the two companies have been working together closely. It has now started mass production of its ultra-thin tempered glass.
It’s capable of producing tempered glass that has a thickness level of less than 100 micrometers (µm) which would make it possible to use it in a foldable smartphone. It reportedly has the technology to bring the thickness down to even 30 µm. A recent report suggested that the Galaxy Fold 2 will use ultra-thin glass instead of polyimide. Samsung has reportedly signed a mid to long-term exclusive contract with the company in order to secure the exclusive supply of this ultra-thin tempered glass. It’s also expected to invest more money in the company which now needs to expand its production facilities in order to meet demand.
At this rate, Samsung should be able to skip the polyimide film for the next Galaxy Fold and opt for this tempered glass instead. It would significantly improve the durability of the foldable display which is the most expensive component on a foldable smartphone. The exclusive supply agreement would enable Samsung to bring this technology to other products as well, such as laptops and tablets. It also helps Samsung stay ahead of the Chinese which are said to be working on their own ultra-thin tempered glass technology for similar uses.