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Home / Tips and Tricks / The Future of Phones: What is Foldable Glass?

The Future of Phones: What is Foldable Glass?



  Women's hands fold the Galaxy Z Flip

The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip is the first foldable phone with a glass pane. Earlier devices like the infamous Samsung Galaxy Fold had plastic screens. Bendable glass technology is essential for making better foldable phones and tablets.

Foldable glass cannot be folded. It Only Bends

"Foldable Glass" is a misnomer. Foldable glass displays cannot be folded completely ̵

1; there are no sharp folds as if you were folding a piece of paper. Instead, the glass bends.

When a device like the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip is closed, there is a gap between the two glass halves. There are also raised edges around the screen that prevent both sides of the glass from touching directly when folded.

In other words, foldable glass is a type of ultra-thin glass that can bend hundreds of thousands of arches without breaking. It cannot be folded so that both sides touch.

  Bend test of a prototype of a flexible glass from Corning.
Corning

Bendable glass is not entirely new.

Several types of companies are working on this technology. Samsung seems to get its ultra-thin foldable glass from Korean manufacturer Doowoo Insys, but it hasn't said much about the technology.

Corning, which makes the strong, damage-resistant gorilla glass for iPhones and many other smartphones, is also working intensively on bendable glass for electronic devices. Corning is already producing a bendable type of glass called "Willow Glass".

Bendable glass is not entirely new. Claudio Mazzali, senior vice president of technology for optical communications at Corning, told Fast Company that Corning has been bending glass for almost 50 years. Corning created flexible fiber for fiber optic cables that bend at a 90 degree angle and can continue to function properly.

Bendable glass is not new, but one of the challenges is making it ultra-thin. Poling Chu, Corning's technology, told CNET, "To achieve a tight bend radius, you have to go to a glass that's much, much thinner than what you have today." The thinner it gets, the more you can bend it.

Making bendable glass work on phones

  A scientist is holding a piece of bendable Corning glass.
Corning

Making ultra-thin bendable glass is big enough challenge, but how can you make this increasingly thinner glass as robust and resistant to damage as the Gorilla glass on current smartphones?

It is easy to forget how impressive gorilla glass and similar technologies are: the glass on the display of a modern smartphone can hit without breaking or even scratching. Gorilla Glass is harder than base metals. We take it for granted.

John Bayne, who heads Corning's Gorilla Glass business, explained the challenge to Wired:

“In a glass solution, you are really challenging the laws of physics to find a very good solution. Narrow bending radius You want to be thinner and thinner but you also need to be able to survive a fall event and withstand damage. “

Bayne said that Corning is working to maintain the bendability of the glass while improving its damage resistance. He told Wired that going through Corning's existing willow glass through the ion exchange process that produces strong gorilla glass would make the willow glass less flexible.

Corning still expects bendable glass for electronics to become mainstream in the next few years. How do Corning and other companies solve manufacturing challenges? These companies will not publicly announce anything like this. After all, they have a lot of competitors and the race is on.

CONNECTION: Hands On with the Galaxy Z Flip: I just thought I didn't want a foldable

Why foldable glass is so important

In his Galaxy Z Flip – Unveiling video says Samsung has "leapt" from polymer (plastic) screens to ultra-thin foldable glass. It's not just an impressive leap in technology. Glass is a better material for a smartphone display.

To avoid the challenges of bendable glass, foldable devices like the Samsung Galaxy Fold, Motorola Razr and Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold have plastic screens that feel like plastic screen protectors. It probably won't feel as good as a sheet of glass, but that's the least of the worry. These soft plastic screens are much easier to scratch and scratch than glass. Motorola actually says that "bumps and lumps are normal" on its collapsible Razr smartphone with a plastic screen.

With a glass screen you have no "dents and lumps" on your display. They do not scratch and are not damaged as easily as plastic. For this reason, current smartphones – from iPhones to Android phones – have glass touch screens. Glass is a much more durable material that lasts better under real conditions. Your fingernail will not damage a sheet of glass, but can easily leave a dent on a sheet of plastic.

Are foldable devices the future? Our Review Geek colleagues are sure of it. In both cases, bendable glass is the future of foldable devices.

CONNECTION: The Galaxy S20 proves that foldable phones are the future


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