Galaxy Fold's production can't catch a break, as Japan bans its display cover export

Galaxy Fold's production can't catch a break, as Japan bans its display cover export
One small transparent cover material, one big hurdle for Samsung's foldable phone strategy going forward - this could be the result from Japan's unexpected ban on various exports to Korea.

Involved in a dispute about World War II dramas, the two nations have been at odds over a Kroean Supreme Court reparations ruling for a while, and the culmination in hostilities now comes in a surprising form for Samsung. Not only could it affect various semiconductor production and cleaning materials, but also the Galaxy Fold, it turns out.

That transparent polyimide cover that the users of the preview units Samsung sent out thought was a screen protector and tried to peel it off? It is supplied by the Japanese from Sumitomo, and Korean media is reporting today that the fluorine polyimide used to make it has found its way on the export ban list. The materials that Japan supplies are not easy to replace, either, as, for example, it holds 70% of the fluorine polyimide production, and in some other areas that share grows to 90%.

Samsung has collaborated with the Japenese from Sumitomo Chemical for producing a "luxurious" to the touch transparent polyimide that can be bent numerous times without any visible differences. It is attached to the flexible OLED panel underneath with an extremely durable and flexible adhesive that Samsung has been developing for years, and which should allow the package to bend at the middle by stretching a bit but not coming unglued. Called optical transparent adhesive film (OCA), this special type of elasticized glue can be bent thousands of times and retain its original size and form. Another Japanese supplier, Nichido Denko, is said to produce the polarizer film for the bendy display, so there is plenty of Japanes input to worry about.

Bummer, as Samsung apparently plans to produce one million Galaxy Fold units in total, and production may be affected, if not for the initial batches, then for the next units. The move comes just when Samsung reportedly changed the Fold's display formula to avoid the issues that the preview units faced in daily usage.

There is a Korean company that does transparent polyimide covers, but it's not clear (pun not intended) whether its production will also be affected by the Japanese material ban. Kolon, however, supplied the flexible cover for the first foldable device announced, Royole's FlexPai, and may be equipping Motorola's upcoming flexible RAZR, so the Japanese ban could make it rise from the ashes of Samsung's neglect when the Galaxy Fold re-release is in full swing.

Related phones

Galaxy Fold
  • Display 7.3" 1536 x 2152 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 10 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Octa-core, 2840 MHz
  • Storage 512 GB
  • Battery 4380 mAh(32h talk time)

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19 Comments

1. umaru-chan

Posts: 349; Member since: Apr 27, 2017

Great job Japan. No wonder why most countries respect japan solo much. Japanese people and Japanese government are amazing.

4. ph00ny

Posts: 2014; Member since: May 26, 2011

Wow seriously? Japan occupied Korea/China and forced people into labor, sexual slavery and human experiments. Not only are large portion of Japanese government not acknowledging it, it's been removed from the history books they're teaching their children. Korean court recently ordered japanese company to pay those that were forcefully put to work in their factories during war and this is the response they get. What an "amazing" government

5. notfair

Posts: 711; Member since: Jan 30, 2017

what? they are in top 3 racists nations on earth, plus they are misogynistic f**ks so please stop with that butt licking s**t because you have no idea what are you talking about.

10. sissy246

Posts: 7035; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

WOW!! Are you that stupid

11. Farcaster

Posts: 157; Member since: Apr 16, 2018

Really, which countries would respect Japan for this? Nothing against the people and culture, but their government is borderline imperialist and extremely racist. It's like if Germany today was run by the descendants of Nazi officials and they refused responsibility for their past misdeeds, even teaching children that the Holocaust never occurred. Would you endorse that too? Judging by your reaction to this article, it would seem that you would find that scenario respectful and amazing. Please delve deeper into the history of Japan before making such shallow assumptions. There are many amazing things about the country, but this is not one of them.

13. bigstrudel

Posts: 585; Member since: Aug 20, 2012

Farcaster. You yourself are ignorant judging by the lack of pertinent information about Japan in your comment.

14. bigstrudel

Posts: 585; Member since: Aug 20, 2012

Japan has every right to react to some decision by a foreign court regarding forced wealth transfer. Japan of course won't pay any kind of reparations (No sane country ever does). Korea is a soft nation without even the will to unite itself. Honestly its kind of pathetic.

17. ph00ny

Posts: 2014; Member since: May 26, 2011

Forced wealth transfer because they forced folks to do the unthinkable. War crime reparation is common and only reason we don't see much of it in the modern era is simply because countries do not go around and occupy another anymore In regards to the unification of north and south korea, i think there is more to it than south korea simply being "soft" as you call it.

19. kevin91202

Posts: 642; Member since: Jun 08, 2014

@bigstrudel That foreign court represents the victims of the foreign invaders known as Japan.

18. kevin91202

Posts: 642; Member since: Jun 08, 2014

@umaru-chan Oh yes.: great job, Japan. Ignoring past atrocities is the way to go...just like Nazi Germany. Oh wait: Germany has acknowledged the Holocaust and paid reparations. What has Japan done? NOTHING. Again, great job, Japan.

2. ZombieHunter

Posts: 265; Member since: Oct 13, 2013

Samsung needs to abandon this phone and make something people actually want.

3. S4NDY

Posts: 225; Member since: Mar 14, 2016

Like Mate X

6. cmdacos

Posts: 3969; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

You're a judge of what 'people' actually want?

7. iloveapps

Posts: 715; Member since: Mar 21, 2019

This is just an excuse for Samsung’s demise. Galaxy is a failure just like Galaxy Nite 7 and won’t admit right now how bad this is.

8. TBomb

Posts: 1276; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

Ya. Samsung is definitely going to go bankrupt because it's phones business isn't making billions upon billions of dollars. Can't wait :D

9. sissy246

Posts: 7035; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

LMFAO, yeah right

12. Vancetastic

Posts: 951; Member since: May 17, 2017

You’re just angry that Apple doesn’t make Pull-Ups.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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