Although the Samsung Galaxy Fold was officially Samsung's first real crack at a foldable smartphone, its release was marred by issues such as fragility in the hinges and the folding screen. It was followed up by the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip earlier this month, which appears (initially) to have corrected many of the issues surrounding its predecessor.
One of its key features was the "foldable glass" incorporated into the device. The end result of a collaboration with glass manufacturer Dowoo Insys, Yonhap reveals the flexible ultra-thin glass (or UTG) will shortly be made available, by Samsung, to other smartphone manufacturers.
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This means that other companies such as OnePlus, HTC, Apple and more can now begin work on their own foldables using Samsung's technology. The Korean smartphone manufacturer already sells its display technology to other companies, but rarely has there been a screen technology in phones which could so radically change our handsets.
Unfortunately, while a marked improvement over the fragile Samsung Galaxy Fold and even the likes of the Huawei Mate X, the Z Flip's screen comes with a protective layer of plastic that some claim is vulnerable to scratching. Removing the layer causes the screen to break.
However, we're expecting the screen to become more durable over the next several generations of foldables - if the concept can get off the ground - just as Corning Gorilla Glass has gone through six iterations so far.
Commercialisation of the new folding glass technology is a huge deal because it allows the folding phone technology to be democratized, becoming cheaper and more reliable as an increasing number of smartphone producers try their hand at the technology. Eventually, we could see the long-rumoured folding iPhone, or a phone priced more appropriately for mid-range devices.
It's an exciting development in the emerging folding phone market. However, in order for other companies to buy into the technology, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, Huawei Mate X and even the redesigned Motorola Razr must prove a hit with smartphone fans.
Has the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip piqued your interest in the prospect of a folding iPhone or iPad? We have no doubt that early adopters like Apple will snap up UTG in order to perform their own foldable experiments. We can't wait to see what they do with it in the months and years to come.
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