Samsung is pursuing in-house foldable glass as a way to combat expensive prices of bendable smartphones. According to new reports, the tech behemoth isn't pleased by the fact it's already sourcing foldable display panels from its sister company. Instead, it's planning to supplement Samsung Display's supply with its very own screen modules.
The plan's understood to be in extremely early stages. For now, Samsung Electronics is merely looking for partners meant to assist in those endeavors.
Industry watchers also claim Samsung's desire to lower component supply prices is just part of the equation. On the other hand, the company is also eager to increase the availability of foldable glass in general.
As things stand right now, foldable smartphones are an extremely niche product category due to a variety of reasons. Besides high price tags, some prospective buyers remain put off by durability concerns.
Samsung not happy with current foldable glass prices
Samsung attempted addressing some of those pain points with the recently released Galaxy Z Flip. However, with a starting price of nearly $1,400, the flagship remains out of the reach of many.
Having a more immediate path to foldable glass would certainly help Samsung put a dent in those prices. At the same time, it wouldn't signficantly impact its profit margins. Quite the contrary, it might even improve them.
The majority of consumer-facing price tags still come down to covering R&D and marketing costs, not production. For example, the foldable glass module of the Galaxy Z Flip costs approximately $40 to manufacture. That's still a far cry from the average tempered glass panel which Samsung can produce for around $2 a piece, naturally.
An alternative source of foldable glass wouldn't just lower the prices of Samsung's bendable Android handsets; it may prompt a similar change on an industry-wide basis. Namely, Samsung Display is still ramping up its foldable panel production capabilities irrespective of its sister company's ambitions.
Even if Samsung Electronics makes its supply chain more autonomous, that would simply leave Samsung Display with a larger quantity of panels it could sell to third parties. In effect, the number of foldable smartphones would increase, which would also lower prices.
It's unlikely any of that comes to pass until late late 2021 at the earliest. As for the immediate future, Samsung's expected to release at least one other ultra-premium foldable by the end of the year. The company also won't be moving away from its traditional handset lines anytime soon.