Flexible displays are present in smartphones for quite some time now (see Galaxy Note Edge). Unfortunately, the industry hasn’t managed to present flexible and foldable devices so far. According to Kolon Industries, a company that is involved in producing such devices, up to 5 companies will be ready to mass produce flexible devices in 2018. Such a development will mark a huge turn for the industry and can gain up to 20% share in 2019. They could prove popular by 2019 and grab a chunky 20% share in the Korean smartphone market.
As the company suggests, the first of these devices will have a bend radius of 5mm, although the market’s prediction is lower, at 1mm. The latter may be almost perfect, allowing the device to fold completely, but for safety reasons, manufacturers are likely to unveil 5mm bend ratio devices in the beginning. Of course, there are other problems to be addressed. Flexible displays may exist already, but the internal parts of a device are still too big and inflexible. This is the biggest problem that holds the industry back right now.
The flexible colorless polyimide* produced by Kolon is expected to be used for most foldable devices in the near future. The Korean tech firm succeeded in the development of the technology this August and intends to mass-produce films for around 100 million units of flexible devices in 2018.
*You may haven’t heard of Kolon Industries, but this is the world’s only company with the means to mass-produce the colorless polyimide needed for the flexible film that will replace displays’ rigid glass sheets. It supplies its products to companies such as Samsung and LG, the two top display companies right now.