If you're considering Samsung's Galaxy Fold 2 for your next phone, you may want to wait until next year. Samsung's about to start work on a better version of the glass that protects its flexible displays from debris and scratches, but it won't be ready in time for the Fold 2. Plus, there's a new report that the Fold 2 won't support the S Pen.
Digital Daily reports that the Korean phone maker is teaming up with Corning, the US glass maker known for the Gorilla Glass displays used on basically every smartphone you can buy right now. Together, their mission will be to make a ultra-thin glass (UTG) supply chain in the US, while making the material both cheaper and lighter for future foldable phones.
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Samsung introduced UTG with the Galaxy Z Flip. While not strictly glass (it has a plastic outer layer), it's far tougher than the soft polyimide surface of the original Galaxy Fold's display, while retaining the ability to flex, which is pretty important for a foldable phone.
The only problem is that Corning hasn't released its own foldable phone glass yet. Working with Samsung will help speed up the process, but this is why this partnership is only expected to bear fruit next year.
So while it's probably too late for the Galaxy Fold 2 to benefit from this partnership, it hopefully means the Galaxy Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 2 phones, likely to appear in 2021, will come with the new and improved UTG.
No S Pen support?
A new report from Korea's The Elec says that the Galaxy Fold 2 may not offer S Pen support, and it's because of the phone's UTG display. The publication says that a Galaxy Fold 2 with S Pen "is unlikely to be seen this year." And this is "because Samsung Electronics has not yet developed a cover window that can fold the screen and endure the use of a stylus."
In essence, Samsung has reportedly not yet figured out a way to make a display that is flexible enough to be foldable and yet durable enough to withstand the pressure of an S Pen. The publication says that Samsung has been researching technology to fold the display while increasing the thickness of the UTG so that a stylus can be used. And it sounds like the above partnership with Corning will do just that for a Galaxy Fold 3.
Galaxy Fold 2 outlook
The Galaxy Fold 2 does have some things going for it, based on the rumors and leaks we've seen. Expected upgraded to the Fold 2 include a larger 6.2-inch external display and bigger internal screen that could reach 7.7 inches. You'll also get new cameras - likely borrowed from the Galaxy S20 Plus - a new Snapdragon 865 chipset and 5G support standard. But the lack of S Pen support and the prospect of a much stronger display down the line could cause some early adopters to wait.
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Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.