Korea's 'SK Innovation' will be introducing next-Gen Foldable Smartphone Display Films at CES next Week
In early November 2018 Samsung revealed that their new Infinity Flex Display designed for future Foldable and scrollable Smartphone and beyond. In early December Huawei vowed that they would release of a foldable smartphone in 2019. As we enter 2019, we're being told today that Korea's energy-to-petrochemical giant SK Innovation will BE introducing next-gen flexible film developed for foldable devices at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that begins next Tuesday.
The transparent film, called Flexible Cover Window, was designed to protect displays and is considered a core component of foldable smartphones for its flexibility as well as its durability.
The company claims that after being folding the film tens of thousands of times it remained unmarked. The film is also scratch-resistant.
Market interest in the plastic film has been growing alongside plans for the commercialization of foldable devices ranging from smartphones to laptops and tablets.
SK Innovation has completed the development of polyimide film for flexible displays, a project it began in 2016, and is currently preparing to commercialize the material. In Q2 2019 the company plans to invest US$36 million to start commercialization of the product in Korea's North Chungcheong Province.
The company said it had secured a competitive edge by developing other electronics-industry materials in addition to the PI film, such as lithium-ion battery separators. SK Innovation is the world’s second-largest supplier of lithium-ion battery separators.
Besides Samsung and Huawei promising a foldable smartphone in 2019, we learned in late October that Wintel has been secretly working a number of foldable devices that could be on the horizon, such as the one shown above code-named "Copper Harbor." Microsoft has a series of patents on such a device. Patently Mobile reported on one of their patents back in July here.
With SK Innovation being at CES 2019 to push their new flexible displays films, It's clear that the concept of foldable smartphones that began as hyped rumors is now entering a new phase with companies having real products on their roadmaps or even in the pipeline.
While Apple has a series of foldable smartphone patents on record, Apple is likely to delay entry into this new category of mobile devices until it's proven itself.