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BOE may be planning to make its own glass for foldables in the future

Can BOE make its own UTG? (Source: BOE)
Can BOE make its own UTG? (Source: BOE)
BOE is the largest supplier of display panels (AMOLED included) in China. A new report indicates that it now intends to compete even further with the likes of Samsung by making its own ultra-thin glass (UTG) as well. This material is the most effective existing solution to protect foldable displays, and as such may become more and more important in the future.

Ultra-thin glass (UTG) is found in the new premium Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2, and functions to protect this device's main 7.6-inch display in a way that might be superior to the polyimide upper layer seen in older and less durable foldables.

As such, it is more likely to feature in the flexible-screen devices of the future, which is why Samsung's Display division has been said to be in the process of manufacturing its own supply of this stuff rather than buy it from typical suppliers such as Schott or Corning.

Now, a new ETNews report suggests that BOE is doing the same. This company is China's most prominent source of electronic displays, and also provided just over 20% of all flexible AMOLED panels worldwide since it started making them.

This most recent piece on its strategy for the future is in Korean, although Google Translate indicates that it says the company is taking the first steps toward "internalizing" UTG production.

This could be taken to mean that BOE, like Samsung Display, intends to make its UTG first-party; alternatively, it might intend to obtain it some other way so as to cater to OEMs in China and elsewhere.

Either way, this tactic might prove a major coup for the company, particularly as it has also just announced the mass-production of a new form of AMOLED with a bending radiius that goes as low as just 5 millimeters (mm).

The ability to offer shipments of this R5 200000 material with UTG pre-applied by default may win it a lot of orders from device manufacturers looking to make the leap to foldables with an acceptable bill of materials (BOM). For reference, BOE's client list has included OEMs such as Apple, LG, Motorola, Nubia and OPPO to date.

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Deirdre O'Donnell, 2020-10-19 (Update: 2020-10-19)
Deirdre O'Donnell
I became a professional writer and editor shortly after graduation. My degrees are in biomedical sciences; however, they led to some experience in the biotech area, which convinced me of its potential to revolutionize our health, environment and lives in general. This developed into an all-consuming interest in more aspects of tech over time: I can never write enough on the latest electronics, gadgets and innovations. My other interests include imaging, astronomy, and streaming all the things. Oh, and coffee.