Just when we thought it has stalled completely, the foldable phones' rumor engine started to fire on all cylinders. After Samsung officially revealed the Galaxy Fold release to be some time in September, we got a tip that it will be on the 18th of next month, around the time Apple outs the 2019 iPhones.
upgraded Mate X, the Fold's chief competitor, which will now include the latest processor and camera set when it is released in October, making it a step above the Fold in those regards, but more expensive, too.Next in line was a preview of the drastically
Motorola's RAZR 2019 - claimed it will cost a grand below the Mate X, and be released on Verizon in time for the holidays. Its unique clamshell design that folds around the horizontal instead of the vertical axis won't stay like that for long, as Samsung is apparently also prepping a clamshell with foldable display, scheduled to appear in 2020, whose patent you can see below.As if to pour even more water in the foldables' rumor mill, a report about the first "midrange" in this new category -
That's an awful lot of new developments around foldables for just two days worth, but we are now also learning about the actual Galaxy Fold successor. Around the news that Samsung will switch to local supplier for the cover glass of the Fold 2, Korean media is reporting that it will sport a larger, 8" display, compared to the 7.3" panel on the OG Fold.
Yes, you read cover glass correct. Apparently, the current trade spat with Japan that saw the island nation restrict rare exports to Korea for misfortunate events that happened decades ago, affected Samsung in three ways. It felt the pinch in OLED pixel material supplies, memory chip components, and the... cover film of the Galaxy Fold.
That last one is made by the Japanese from Sumitomo out of durable polyimide (PI) and has fallen under said trade restrictions. Comprising the top layer of the Galaxy Fold's flexible display package, it is actually an integral part of the screen. That wasn't quite clear on the preview units Samsung sent out, and some tried to peel it off, ruining the handset's display in the process.
While Samsung fixed the problem by extending the PI cover over the corners of the upgraded Fold, so as it doesn't look like a screen protector, it has apparently decided to move away of such films in the future.
A Korean business publication called The Bell is now reporting that it will switch to a domestic supplier for the cover glass needs of the 8" Fold 2, resorting to the services of DoInsys, though Corning and Schott, whose flexible glass image is in the header, also have similar products in the pipeline. DoInsys, however, just so happens to have developed a glass protective film for foldable displays and has evidently created an ultrathin tempered glass that can be applied to bendy handsets last year.
The so-called Ultra Thin Glass (UTG) is, needless to say, tougher than the "regular" polyimide protective film that the Galaxy Fold now uses. How can glass bend without breaking, though? Well, the key word is thin, apparently, as the DoInsys creation has proved surprisingly durable and the company, which planned to start mass production in 2020, has been getting better yields than planned, removing one more hurdle before the Galaxy Fold 2 plans.
The move to a cover glass instead of a PI film for the Galaxy Fold successor has been planned before the drama with the Japanese export restrictions unfolded. It is now proving doubly advantageous for Samsung, as not only will it circumvent the Sumitomo export restrictions to Korea, but will also avoid issues like the "screen protector" look that the PI cover had on the Galaxy Fold.
As for the Galaxy Fold 2 release date, the first DoInsys cover glass batches for its 8" display were supposed to be supplied by the end of the year, likely resulting in a spring 2020 announcement, but with the Fold release five months behind schedule, Samsung is reportedly biding its time on the ultrathin glass order. Oh, well, at least the foldable phones category is getting more exciting by the day.