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Here's how LG and Samsung might make foldable phones more durable

The companies' patents would both reduce stress on your foldable phone's screen as it bends.

Published onAugust 18, 2020

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip quarter fold
  • LG and Samsung have applied for patents on more durable foldable displays.
  • They would both reduce stress on your foldable phone’s screen as it bends.
  • It’s not certain when (or if) this will reach real-world products.

Foldable phones have become more reliable over time — just look at the differences between the original Galaxy Fold design and the Galaxy Z Flip. There’s still room for improvement, however, and both LG and Samsung are exploring ways to improve the durability in folding phones’ screens.

ETNews has learned that both companies have applied for patents on ways to reduce the amount of stress on foldable displays when they’re bent. LG Display has developed a “control layer” that would cushion a flexible OLED screen to lower internal stress and prevent wrinkles. The company has tested it, too — LG said it confirmed the method “greatly minimizes” strain.

Samsung Display, meanwhile, has explored pressure-sensitive adhesive on the hinge that would loosen its grip as you fold the phone, again lowering the internal stress. The more force you apply, the less adhesion there is.

These are patent applications and won’t necessarily translate to shipping products from either LG or Samsung. Don’t count on your next foldable being as long-lasting as a conventional phone. The ideas here are relatively realistic, however, and in LG’s case have had some kind of testing. It won’t be surprising if the techniques you see here become reality in time, if they haven’t already.

Read more: The best foldable phones

There’s certainly pressure to improve reliability. Foldable phones aren’t quite mainstream yet, but they’re advancing rapidly with devices like the Galaxy Z Fold 2 packing larger, more sophisticated screens. The more LG and Samsung can do to improve the longevity of foldable displays, the better their chances of lowering phone costs and designing phones you’d be more likely to buy.

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