Cracking news: improved smartphone glass twice as likely to survive drops

New version of Gorilla Glass used in iPhone and Samsung devices could help make smashed screens a thing of the past

Glass-maker Corning has unveiled a new version of its Gorilla Glass used in the majority of smartphone displays, which it says is twice as likely to survive being dropped.

As phones get bigger, and come with glass on the back as well as the front, the potential for smashed devices has increased. While cases have helped, even heavily protected phone screens still end up shattered from impact and then stress from being bent, squeezed or bumped in a pocket or bag.

Gorilla Glass 6 is a new chemically strengthened and highly compressed glass that Corning says has twice the drop protection of its Gorilla Glass 5.

“With breaks during drops being a probabilistic event, the added compression helps increase, on average, the likelihood of survival through multiple drop events,” said Dr Jaymin Amin, vice president of technology and product development at Corning.

The new glass survived an average of 15 drops from 1m on to rough surfaces in lab tests compared to 11 for the previous version, meaning it should be more resistant to multiple drops.

“Gorilla Glass 6 improves upon Gorilla Glass 5 by surviving drops from higher heights, but, more importantly, has been engineered to survive multiple drops,” said John Bayne, vice president and general manager for Corning Gorilla Glass.

Corning said Gorilla Glass 6 has similar scratch resistance and other properties to the older glass.

Apple’s current iPhones, Samsung’s Galaxy 9 and the majority of premium smartphones sold in the UK, all use the older Gorilla Glass 5. Corning said Gorilla Glass 6 will be on the market in the next several months, which means top-end smartphones launched in the second half of this year should ship with it.

With multiple iPhones expected in September, along with new Google Pixel smartphones in October and the replacement for the Galaxy S9 in the first quarter of 2019, your next smartphone might not break when you drop it, over and over.

As I go through a series of drop tests at the @corninggorilla even I do wonder if higher performance from the glass drives bad behavior. In other words I drop it and it does not break so I am not as careful as I used to be. 🤔

— Carolina Milanesi (@caro_milanesi) July 18, 2018

Contributor

Samuel Gibbs

The GuardianTramp

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