‘Foldable SmartPhones’, a technology which was a dream
for everybody. The whole concept of foldable screens was
unrealistic until recently. The phones we use today are
made of hard glass or gorilla glass as we call it which
cannot bend at all. So to make the phone foldable, they
had to come up with new material for the screen which
will be flexible but it shouldn’t break in half.
The first-ever foldable phone
was launched on the 31st
October 2018. It was from a
company called Royale and
they called the phone the
Royole Flexpai. This was the
company that beat all the
other smartphone companies
in folding technology.
However, the phone had multiple malfunctions even though it ran the latest
snapdragon processor at that time. The phone had a lot of false touches, wasn’t
pocket-friendly, hardly practical and the user interface was terrible.
A few months later, both Samsung and Huawei released their foldable
phones named as the Galaxy Fold and the Mate X. Both these phones were
better than the Flexpai in every aspect. However, none of them made it
through alpha testing before they were released to the public.
Need for Foldable Phones to Evolve
The Bigger screens mean that the mobile device itself must get
bigger. That's why major players are working on a different way to
make the display larger without jumbo-sizing the entire device.
Basically, they have been working to create something that
effortlessly folds open like a book.
How Do Foldable Smartphone Screens
The idea of a foldable screen is
hard to believe because
smartphone screens are
typically made of multiple
layers of—mostly inflexible—
glass. However, foldable
screens are now possible
because of a not-so-new
technology, often referred to as
Flexible Display technology,
built around Organic Light
Emitting Diode (OLED) screens.
These screens do not require backlit
lights for working, making screens more
thin and flexible and also they generate
more accurate colors and have a large
color gamut, .
Flexible displays can found in old smartphones like -- iphone X and the
Samsung Galaxy Edge series. This technology has now evolved a lot and
has grown from just allowing screens to have curved edges into making
screens that can be actually folded.
What materials are used to make foldable displays?
On February 11th, 2020, Samsung
made what it called “a leap from
polymer screens to ultra-thin glass
technology” when it released its
Galaxy Z Flip, the first foldable
smartphone that features an actual
The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip still has
a soft, scratchable plastic layer on
top. However, the main component,
that is, the display, is made of glass.
Substrate layer — Also called the board, this is
the very base of the screen, which supports all
the other layers. On a flexible display, the
substrate is made of plastic or, less commonly,
metal. Most flexible screen devices today use a
substrate made of a polymer plastic called
polyimide (PI). In addition to being flexible
and insulating, polyimide features h igh
mechanical strength and thermal stability.
TFT layer — Applied on top of the flexible
substrate, the TFT (thin-film transistor) layer
controls power delivery to each pixel. Think of
it as a “power grid” that connects all the pixels
in the display. On an OLED screen, unlike on
LCD, each pixel can be controlled individually,
allowing for high contrast rates and lower
OLED layer — The light-emitting layer, made up of
individual pixels, each of which comprises red,
green, and blue subpixels. Each pixel can hit a
certain color and luminosity by varying the
amount of power its subpixels receive. In turn,
pixels combine to form the image we see on the
display. The OLED layer is made of several sub-
layers, including a cathode, an anode, and a layer
of organic light-emitting material sandwiched
Cover layer — Also called the encapsulation layer,
this is the layer that seals and protects the other
layers. It’s also the layer users touch when they
interact with folding screens. In terms of
materials, the cheaper option is polyimide (same
as the substrate), while more recently, we’ve seen
manufacturers adopt ultra-thin glass (UTG).
Advantages of Foldable Smartphone
Portable Large Screens
Disadvantages of Foldable Smartphone Screens
Conclusion: Is A Foldable Smartphone Worth It?
Right now, the perks of owning a foldable phone don’t really outweigh the
drawbacks, given the high price we need to pay for one. But that’s not going to be
the case in just a few years. The proper utilisation of foldable technology is just
getting started, and there are many reasons to be excited about its future. So while
folding phones don’t currently fit in as the perfect device for most users, with
enough improvements within the next few years, they hold the potential to be a
stepping stone to something much better: a single device for all occasions and
circumstances, while still fitting in our pockets.