While we are still letting the idea of bendable/foldable smartphones sink in, there are projections about that market already. Kang Chung-seok who is the head of Kolon Industries’ colorless polyimide division in an interview with Korea Herald said he believes that foldable phones could have about 20 percent of the smartphone market share by 2019. Now his company is one of the few companies that can mass produce colourless polyimide which is needed for producing bendable smart devices. “Around three to five tech companies are expected to mass produce foldable phones in 2018 globally. The devices will then grab around 20 percent of the total smartphone market here.”
The report notes that Kolon Industires is already supplying these materials to smartphone manufacturers and one notable name there is Samsung which is likely to release its first bendable smartphone as early next year. The company started mass producing colourless polyimide just this past August.
While Kang believes that next year could be the year of the bendable smartphone, he also believes that those phones won’t feature the 1-millimeter bend radius that would allow the phones to be completely folded in half. He said “The bend radius of 1 millimeter is the most ideal but that may cause a safety issue. So, tech companies are likely to unveil the bend radius of 5 millimeters first and then gradually unveil devices with less bend radius.”
While Samsung and LG have both made their intentions in this field public, Apple hasn’t said anything about this officially even though leaked Apple patent shows a futuristic and bendable smartphone.