Corning, known for his Gorilla Glass, is working on glass that can bend far enough to be used in foldable smartphones. The company estimates the glass will be ready for the market by the time foldable smartphones become mainstream, which could be several years away.
To realize the bendable glass, Corning is trying to combine its Gorilla Glass with Willow Glass, which can be rolled up. The biggest problem with which the American company still struggles is that at Willow Glass the material is dipped in a solution of molten salt. While this makes the glass flexible enough to bend, the added salt doesn’t mix well with the transistors of, in this case, a smartphone touching the glass. “Everything in the salt family just eats up a transistor. They’re not compatible.” Corning CEO John Bayne tells Wired that.
At the moment, Corning still has to choose between highly bendable glass and glass that can take a beating when it comes to deliveries. “It’s about giving them both,” he says. The goal is to be able to deliver a bend with a radius of 3 to 5 millimeters.
The ‘glass’ that is now used in the Samsung Galaxy Fold, for example, consists of a polymer. According to Motorola CEO Dan Dery, this material is very vulnerable to scratches and eventually forms an ugly wrinkle at the point where the fold is. Due to this problem, foldable prototypes at the Mobile World Congress 2019 would often have been behind glass and journalists were not allowed to touch them.
The just announced foldable phones from Samsung and Huawei will cost 1999 and 2300 euros respectively.
Huawei Mate X