LG's Real Folding Window designed to resolve folding screen pain points
LG Chem says it's cracked the issue of less-than-durable folding screens on smartphones with the development of a new outer film it's calling the Real Folding Window that's reported as hard as glass and as flexible as plastic.
Though folding phones predate smartphones – think Nokia Communicators or the Razr V3 for example – the button-packed keying areas and the displays were distinctly separate components. But as Samsung found out with the Galaxy Fold in early 2019, making a handset with a touchscreen that folded across the hinge was not an easy task – as evidenced by numerous reports of display failures from early reviewers appearing online.
Samsung quickly addressed such issues and the Fold enjoyed a delayed launch, and is now in its third generation. But there is always room for improvement, and LG Chem has stepped in to solve folding screen durability issues with its Real Folding Window.
The breakthrough is an unspecified new material that's reported to be a few dozen micrometers thick, and is applied to both sides of a PET film. That coated film can then be used as a cover material for the folding smartphone's flexible display panel for the promise of a long usage life (the team reports successful testing of more than 200,000 folding actions) and a less noticeable crease at the hinge.
"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," said a company rep.
The developers are aiming for more competitive production pricing, are looking to remove the PET middle man in future designs for applications such as rollable devices, laptops, and tablets, and also say that the film technology should allow for more robust out-folding displays, and well as in-folds.
And we won't have to wait too long before the technology is released into the wild, with LG Chem heading for mass production next year and sales in 2023.
Source: LG Chem
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Also, I note in the images that the radius of curavture shown is still on the order of a centimetre (half an inch) - does it work as well at a millimetre or two curvature to make an effective folding screen that will fit in your pocket ?