You’d want the displays on foldable smartphones to be robust because one can only imagine what the repair cost on those screens would be. Corning has a long history of providing manufacturers with durable cover glass under its Gorilla Glass brand. The company has now revealed that it’s developing a bendable version of glass which will be well suited for smartphones with foldable displays.
Corning general manager John Bayne told Wired that this version of the cover glass could be fit for use in foldable smartphones in under two years. He added that it was a major challenge for the company to create a glass that’s thin enough that it bends but still has the adequate resilience required to protect the display underneath.
Bayne mentioned that Corning is looking at a “3- to 5-millimeter bend radii” for its 0.1mm thick glass. That would enable a foldable smartphone to be 6mm to 10mm thin with the folding Gorilla cover glass wrapped around the outside. “The technical challenge is, can you keep those tight 3- to 5-millimeter bend radii and also increase the damage resistance of the glass. That’s the trajectory we’re on,” he said.
Recently unveiled devices like the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X use plastic screens to achieve the form factor and their scratch resistance is something that remains as yet untested in the real world.