US company Corning will supply ultra-thin glass (UTG) for Samsung’s foldable smartphones, according to market research firm Display Supply Chain Consultants (DSCC) on Monday.
Corning will be a secondary supplier of UTG for the South Korean company’s foldable phones launching in the second half of 2021, DSCC said.
Corning will be supplying the glasses, which are used as cover windows, for the Galaxy Z Flip 3, the research firm said.
Corning’s UTG mother glass will be processed by Korean firm eCONY, DSCC said.
For the Galaxy Z Flip and Galaxy Z Fold 2 last year, Germany’s Schott was the sole supplier of UTG.
In December, Coring had said it was at the final stages of developing a cover window for foldable phones. At the time, the company said it plans to commercialize its bendable glass solution in 2021.
If DSCC’s forecast is correct, the competition between Corning and Schott to supply the glasses, as well as the competition between Samsung Electronics and Samsung Display to process these glasses, will be an interesting one.
Samsung’s mobile business has formed its own supply chain for foldable panels as it believes what Samsung Display is offering is too expensive.
Corning’s UTG supply will likely be handed by Samsung Mobile’s own supply chain.
Samsung Mobile last year wrapped laser cutting testing for UTG. The yield has been better than the wheel cutting method of Dowooinsys, a company that is part of Samsung Display’s supply chain.
For previous foldable phones, Schott supplied the UTG and Dowooinsys processed them. Samsung Display then combined the glass with its OLED panel to complete the foldable panel.
Samsung Display has a three-year exclusive deal with Schott to receive UTG. This has angered Samsung Mobile as the deal gives it less room to cut down the prices of panels.
Meanwhile, DSCC said Corning’s entry into Samsung’s UTG supply chain could help Apple enter the foldable market. Apple uses Corning’s Gorilla Glass for its iPhones. Some has speculated that Cupertino could launch its own foldable phone in 2023.