LG’s New Flexible Display Tech May Have Solved Foldable Phone Creasing Problems
Folding displays are, for the most part, still in their relative infancy. Companies have shown a strong interest in adopting folding form factors, and consumers seem to be open to the idea as well—Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3 recently set record preorder sales among their respective product lines. There is room for improvement, though, and LG believes it can advance the sector with a new folding display material.
Developed by LG's chemical division, LG Chem (or LG Chemical), the new material incorporates a special coating to enable a folding display that is thinner than tempered glass, but more durable and resilient to cracks. It's also as flexible as plastic, LG Chem says, and virtually gets rid of fold lines or creases that are present on today's folding devices.
"Unlike existing polyimide films and tempered glass-type materials, the cover window that applied LG Chem’s new coating technologies will maximize flexibility, while also providing optimized solutions for foldable phones such as making improvements to chronic issues like fold impressions on the connecting part of the screen," LG Chem said in a statement.
LG is calling this "Real Folding Window," presumably to drive home the point that it looks and feels like glass, but is more durable and flexible. It's said the coating is just a few dozen micrometers thick and is applied to both sides of the PET film, which is the thin piece of plastic that underpin today's folding smartphones.
According to LG Chem, the "durability is maintained completely" after folding its solution more than 200,000 times. That means it won't break, wear out, or show any creases for what is likely to be the lifetime of whatever handset(s) it ends up on.
LG Chem also points to another benefit—being able to facilitate outward folding form factors, rather than just inward folds, with the same durable and crease-free properties.
It all sounds promising, though it will be some time before we see actual devices built around LG Chem's new folding solution. The company says it will begin mass production sometime next year, followed by "full-scale sales of the product" in 2023.