What you need to know
- Samsung has signed Dowoo Insys as its exclusive supplier of ultra-thin glass panels.
- The Galaxy Fold currently uses a plastic screen technology that is prone to scratching.
- DoInsys makes ultra-thin glass that is only 100 micrometers thick, with thinner glass to come.
Korean news site ETNews reports that Dowoo Insys, a Korean manufacturer of ultra-thin glass (UTG) panels, has made a deal with Samsung Display to become the exclusive supplier of glass for the screen component arm of the Korean electronics giant. Presumably, these panels would be fed directly to Samsung's Mobile division for future foldable phones, such as the prototype form factor that Samsung R&D showed off on stage at the Samsung Developer's Conference.
The Samsung Galaxy Fold uses a plastic-based screen technology, not a glass panel, and the display suffers from being so scratch-prone that Samsung warns against nicking it with sharp fingernails. A glass display could solve this problem. Dowoo Insys makes UTG panels that are as thin as 100µm, and the technology could stretch as thin as 30µm. Currently, DoInsys can theoretically produce up to 500,000 panels per month, according to ETNews, but it seems this is not the number of panels actually leaving the factory, so production may be difficult. The glass-maker is reportedly considering a new production facility in Vietnam to complement its current South Korean plant.
Samsung has already invested ₩12 billion (around $10.3 million) through its Samsung Venture Investment arm. Dowoo Insys sees growth potential in the foldable display market from Samsung with new mobile form factors on the horizon, but also points to the viability of foldable displays in laptops, tablets, and other devices. Hopefully increased production and better production procedures will quickly lead to lower prices, bringing down foldables from the near-$2000 price tag of Samsung's Galaxy Fold.
An entirely new kind of smartphone.
The Samsung Galaxy Fold is something special. It's the first foldable phone to launch in the United States and makes every other handset look like a piece of ancient history. There are still some quirks with folding phones as a whole, but if you want to buy one, this is probably the one to get.
Philip Berne worked from 2011 to 2017 as part of Samsung's Public Relations team and maintains no business or financial relationships with Samsung nor is he currently bound by non-disclosure agreement.
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