Corning the company behind Gorilla Glass the fortified glass product that covers screens such as the Galaxy S III and the HTC One X, has just announced Willow Glass, an ultra-slim flexible glass which can be used to make thinner smartphones, tablets and notebooks. Corning says ‘The thinness, strength and flexibility of the glass has the potential to enable displays to be “wrapped” around a device or structure’ and ‘This new, ultra-slim flexible glass will also help develop conformable (curved) displays for immersive viewing or mounting on non-flat surfaces’.
The glass can be processed at temperatures up to 500° C. This tolerance is required when manufacturing displays and polymer films with the required flexibility can`t be used at these temperatures which enable the production to be a ‘roll-to-roll’ process similar to how Newspapers are printed which allows for greater throughput in production. Check out the video below which shows the manufacturing process :
The military has been looking at flexible displays for a number of years and generally the technology created on that front trickles out in more consumer friendly versions for mass market consumption, I think we`ll start seeing some nicely curved phone displays and with those possibilities we should see if that forces some innovation on the phone design front.