What you need to know
- Samsung's consumer electronics division is reportedly working with Corning to develop a new UTG (ultra-thin glass) solution.
- The material is used in both the Galaxy Z Flip and the Galaxy Z Fold 2.
- Samsung currently sources the foldable display material from its Samsung Display subsidiary.
Samsung Electronics is reportedly looking to develop its own ultra-thin glass (UTG) solution, independent of its subsidiary Samsung Display, and in partnership with Corning, the manufacturers of the Gorilla Glass displays that adorns most smartphones these days (via ETNews).
UTG is the material that's used by Samsung in both of its newest foldable phones, the Galaxy Z Flip and the Galaxy Z Fold 2, and is an improvement in quality over the solution used in the original Galaxy Fold, which was notoriously for its easily broken screen.
While Samsung Electronics, the company that makes the smartphones, currently sources its UTG displays from Samsung Display — a separate company, even though it is a subsidiary of Samsung Electronics, which is itself a subsidiary of the Samsung conglomerate (talk about a confusing corporate structure!) — the smartphone maker is reportedly receiving sample materials from Corning that could allow it to develop its own in-house UTG solution.
While Corning refused to name names, it did provide a statement to the publication confirming that the company was "currently supplying UTG samples to a customer and that it cannot disclose any detailed information".
Why is Samsung moving to create a product that competes with its own display division? The price, as it turns out. Since Samsung Electronics and Samsung Display are technically separate businesses, Samsung Display actually sells the UTG screens to Samsung Electronics, and the asking price is seemingly a little too high for Samsung Electronics' liking.
The partnership with Corning is designed to come up with an alternative, in-house solution that is cheaper.
Samsung Display, meanwhile, is branching out and is reportedly now courting other customers for its UTG solution. And it's already found at least one customer in recent months: Huawei, which has its own foldable phone in the form of the Mate X.
While it's hard for us to directly confirm reports about insider industry sources, this story does seem interesting. It's also a good reminder of just how big the Samsung chaebol as a whole really is — and just how confusing its corporate structure can be.
The modern foldable
A marked improvement in terms of both specs and 5G support over the original Fold, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 also one-ups its predecessor with the use of the new UTG solution for its screen. That means you're far less likely to end up with a broken screen — though, with its $1,999 asking price, we can't promise the same for your wallet.
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