We all know that display manufacturers have been able to create flexible OLED panels for some time now; they’ve been trade show mainstays for years. Despite these appearances, there’s been little indication that such displays are anywhere near ready for inclusion on commercial products, despite the occasional rumor to the contrary. One factor we don’t often think about when considering these components is how to protect them from damage – after all, you wouldn’t dare think about releasing a smartphone with an exposed screen, no glass to protect it. Corning’s been working on the answer to that problem, which could come in the form of its Willow glass.
Willow glass is designed to bend without breaking, letting sheets of it roll up into scrolls. While Willow glass was announced last year, now Corning’s finally getting specific about when products with it could reach market.
According to Corning, it’s been working with some “very big name” customers to teach them what they’ll need to do to implement Willow glass in future products, but that we’re still probably looking at another three years before anything like a full-on flexible display is available.
In the meantime, Willow glass will find uses in less demanding applications, letting companies get used to working with it before it ends up in products that could see a bit of abuse.