Earlier this month we saw images of a foldable device with a clamshell design rumored to be Samsung’s next foldable phone. Now, to add a little more spice to this speculation, we ask: could this device also be using glass instead of plastic for its screen?
That’s what phone leaker Ice Universe claims, tweeting today that Samsung has created “an ultra-thin glass cover” for its next foldable, and pointing to the smooth and unwrinkled appearance of the screen of the unknown device as proof. (The plastic screens of foldable devices often look rippled when seen at an angle, and only accrue more creases with time.)
It’s certainly not impossible. Samsung has applied for trademarks in Europe for something it calls “Samsung Ultra Thin Glass” or “UTG,” and other sources have rumored that this will be the material used for its next foldable, which some have dubbed the Samsung Fold 2.
We also know that manufacturers are pouring money into this technology. Foldable glass is seen as an important step in getting foldables into the mass market. It’s more resilient than the plastic polymers currently used, which would help the devices overcome their well-known quality issues. It’s also nicer to use, meeting customer expectations. Apple supplier Corning is among those known to be developing the material, and market watchers suggest the iPhone-maker is waiting for reliable foldable glass before it launches its own foldable.
None of this confirms that Samsung is launching a foldable smartphone with a glass display, of course. We don’t even known if the images above really show the “Fold 2.” As my colleague Sean Hollister wrote earlier this month:
We aren’t certain that these images, via Weibo by way of phone leaker Ice Universe, actually depict a Samsung device, much less one that’s headed to market. It could be a prototype, a concept, or even a clever fake. But Bloomberg has reported since March that Samsung would follow the Galaxy Fold with a pair of additional foldable devices including a clamshell like the one you see above, and the overall silhouette lines up nicely with the concept images that Samsung officially shared in October.
But it does all seem possible. Samsung is certainly still bullish about the foldable market (sometimes even misleading us in its enthusiasm), and innovations like foldable glass are the way forward. We’ll expect to hear more about the company’s plans early next year.