Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3 devices did very well in their home country, and market research groups like Counterpoint believe foldable shipments are bound to grow in the coming years. Foldable devices might soon no longer be niche products, and LG has developed a new material that could help make that a reality. LG Chem has designed a new type of cover window — that is, the outermost pre-installed part of displays protecting them from impact — that it says is as hard as glass while also having the capability to prevent fold impressions on the connecting part of a device.
The company calls the material "Real Folding Window," and it's made of PET film coated on both sides with a new coating technology it developed. A spokesperson explained: "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."
In addition, the Real Folding Window can be folded both outwards and inwards unlike current counterparts that are optimized to be bent one way. LG Chem says it's thinner than tempered glass, is priced competitively and has been tested to be able to endure being folded over 200,000 times.
While the coating on both sides is only a few micrometers thick, the company is developing another type of Real Folding Window that doesn't use PET film. The idea is to create a very thin cover window for use in devices like foldable phones and rollable displays. LG Chem is planning to start mass producing the Real Folding Window in 2022 and to start selling them the year after that.