Since Royole introduced ‘FlexPai’, a foldable OLED phone, Samsung Electronics and Huawei have also launched Foldable OLED phones, attracting great interest from the industry and the public.
The biggest change of the foldable OLED phone currently being commercialized or under preparation is that the cover window of the glass material used in the existing flexible OLED has been changed to colorless PI material.
Colorless PI is thinner than conventional cover window glass, which is advantageous in reducing the radius of curvature and has the advantage of not breaking. UTG (ultra-thin glass), which has good surface touch-feel and scratch-resistant glass as thin as possible, is also attracting attention as a cover window material for foldable OLEDs.
At the SID Display Week exhibition in San Jose, KOLON exhibited colorless PI with hard coating. KOLON, which has been ready for mass production of colorless PI since 2018, is currently supplying colorless PI for foldable OLED cover windows to AUO, BOE, LG Display, and Royole.
Hard coating company DNP and TOYOCHEM also exhibited colorless PI with hard coating. DNP’s company official said that the film is under development and its main business area is hard coating, and TOYOCHEM’s company official said that it supplied hard coating samples to KOLON and SKC.
Meanwhile, SCHOTT, a UTG development company, also attracted the attention of the audience by displaying UTG for foldable OLED cover windows. An official of SCHOTT said that the UTG currently being developed is a cover window product for out-folding, not in-folding, and that the thickness is currently in development from 0.7 mm to 2.5 mm in accordance with customer requirements.
As the smartphone set makers are expected to release foldable OLED phones in the near future, competition for related materials is also expected to be intense. Whether the Colorless PI will continue to dominate or whether UTG will be able to exercise its influence is highlighted.