Corning Gorilla Glass, Mobile phones

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Smartphone glass maker Corning just announced the release of the latest glass from the company known as Gorilla Glass 5. Corning have really made a name for themselves for making the best glass for smartphones. In fact, any self-respecting high end phone must include Gorilla Glass for added protection or else only few would take them seriously.

Corning Gorilla Glass, Mobile phones
Corning Gorilla Glass 5

The pitch from Corning is that Glass 5 is far stronger than its predecessor. Meaning it would take a lot of pressure before the glass cracks. Okay that should be expected. After all that is the point of upgrades of these sort. Especially if you want users to pay a premium for phones with Gorilla Glass 5.

The big deal from Corning perspective is that dropping the glass from as high as 1.6 meters (or about 5.3 feet) would leave no significant damage on the glass.

So those who are found of dropping their phones should rejoice at the news. That means you won’t have to be visiting your technician every few months to get a new screen for your phone.

Corning Gorilla Glass, Mobile phones
Corning Glass

One might suppose stronger means a thicker glass. That could be correct. But the point Corning tried to emphasis is this: the new glass might be slightly thicker, but it won’t hamper the user experience. pictures, videos and other graphics would still be as clear if not clearer than before.

The news was announced in a detailed blog post part of which read:

The unique attributes of Gorilla Glass 5 build on the best-in-class performance of previous generations of Corning Gorilla Glass. Mobile devices are the primary tools consumers use to capture, view, create, send and consume digital content, and the cover glass is the interface for touching, typing and swiping that content. Consumers count on their cover glass to deliver damage resistance, optical clarity, touch sensitivity, and protection from drops.

Corning Gorilla Glass, Mobile phones
Gorilla Glass 5

In lab tests, Corning Gorilla Glass 5 survives up to 80 percent of the time when dropped face-down from 1.6 meters onto rough surfaces, far outperforming competitive glass designs.

Leveraging its strengths in glass science and fusion manufacturing, Corning leads the cover glass industry it created nearly 10 years ago. Corning Gorilla Glass has been used on more than 4.5 billion devices worldwide, including more than 1,800 product models across 40 major brands. Gorilla Glass 5 will allow manufacturers to provide the ultimate in high-resolution, touch-enabled devices.”

You can read up the rest of it  if you need more convincing that Gorilla Glass 5 is the real deal.

I was almost sold on what Corning said about their latest glass until I came across a detailed review of Glass 5 from The Verge. Apparently, there are some few questions about the claim by Corning. Let’s take a look at some of these issues:

  1. The tests Corning did and got that 80% were done with glass that was 0.6mm thick. That is using the thickest available glass in Corning’s inventory. However, Corning also makes glass that is 0.4mm thick. So if your OEM decides to use a 0.4mm, don’t expect to get the same results as the tests carried out by Corning.
  2. The second issue has to do with how the phones were dropped. The phones were dropped face down in what is known as ‘face drops‘. A phone dropped that way is less likely to suffer from broken glass than say a phone that is dropped on its edge. And to be frank, when phones hit the floor, the edge is most times the point that gets the first and damaging impact.
Corning Gorilla Glass, Mobile phones
Phone protected by Gorilla Glass

When asked why the company did not do an edge drop? Or whether there is any significant difference between a face drop and an edge drop with the Gorilla Glass 5, this is what a Corning official told The Verge

What will define the performance of the overall device on those types of corner drops is stiffness of the phone design, but also how the glass is packaged,”

So here is exactly what Corning is telling smartphones owners with Corning Gorilla Glass 5: the strength of the glass in the final analysis depends on how the manufacturers design the phone and what thickness of glass they use.

And of course the angle the phone falls determines if the glass will be shattered.

So there it is, if your next smartphone comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 5, don’t go round throwing it about thinking it is invincible. It is not. It would break sooner than you think.


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