Samsung is famous for using “cheap” plastics in their devices. But plastic is not without its advantages. It’s cheap to produce, light and durable. It’s flexible and can take a beating. However, its flexible nature is also responsible for the creaks and cracks everyone hates. It’s not quite “high-end” when your $600 phone sounds like Rice Krispies in your hands.
The quality of the Galaxy S 4 improved greatly over that of the Galaxy S III, but people haven’t changed their mind about plastic. And I don’t blame them. Samsung did state that they’re looking into higher end materials for future products. Could they start using metals? I don’t much like metals in phones, but it could make a lot of people happy.
Today’s news suggests Samsung may not turn to metal, but rather carbon fiber. Samsung Petrochamical and the SGL Group (The Carbon Company) have established a partnership, each with a 50% share, to create and develop carbon composite materials and new uses. This means that they will work to create a stable long-term supply of carbon fiber.
In this partnership with Samsung, we combine our strengths and promote the use of carbon fiber materials in fast growing markets such as digital media. Carbon fiber materials play an increasingly important role in the material substitution process towards lighter products. Our joint venture underlines our strategy to enter new markets and develop innovative applications for our high-performance materials.Juergen KoehlerSGL Group
Carbon fiber is a very high-end material; it’s lightweight and very strong. It’s the material used to make the body panels of many sports cars. And if it’s good enough for a sports car crashing into a wall, it’s good enough for your phone. Samsung devices will get to retain their classic light feel while getting a big upgrade in strength.
This deal is by no means a confirmation that Samsung will use carbon fiber in their devices. All we know is that Samsung Petrochemical will start creating it and finding new uses for it in tandem with SGL Group. Still, the chances seem excellent, and the opportunity amazing. Would you like your next phone to be built out of carbon fiber?