Corning has long been the go-to for smartphone manufacturers who want a nice, tough piece of glass to keep their devices safe in the event of a drop or scratch. Now, the company is stepping things up with the launch of Gorilla Glass 6, which Corning says is up to two times better than the previous version, Gorilla Glass 5.
Phone designs have changed a lot over the years, making the strength of the glass used on phones more important than ever. When smartphones were first released, for example, they often had thick metal or plastic frames, which was the first part of the phone to often make contact when a phone was dropped. Now, smartphones have curved edges and glass backs, resulting in an almost completely glass exterior.
Often, your phone won’t break the first time you drop it, and that’s because up until that point there weren’t any flaws in the glass. With a drop, however, small flaws can be introduced into the glass — meaning that the next time you drop your phone, the weakened glass can more easily break. That’s an issue that Corning has been trying to fix with Gorilla Glass 6. According to Corning, Gorilla Glass 6 can survive 15 drops from 1 meter before it breaks — which is a pretty serious improvement over the 11 drops Gorilla Glass 5 could get through. Corning says that people, on average, drop their phones 7 times per year, so being able to survive 15 drops means that the glass should get a phone through a standard two-year upgrade cycle.
Of course, Corning’s lab tests are one thing — real-world uses are a different beast. In the real world, drops aren’t controlled, and if you drop your phone while standing, it’s usually from more than 1 meter. Still, any improvement on glass strength is good, whether or not the glass actually survives 15 drops or not.
Corning is in a pretty good position right now. The world is finally moving to wireless charging, meaning that phone manufacturers may start doing away with metal backs on their phones and more widely adopt glass backs. In other words, strong glass is more important than ever in phone design — putting the maker of the strongest phone glass in a pretty great position.
Gorilla Glass 6 will likely pop up on a range of phones over the next year or so. Apple has long used Gorilla Glass on the iPhone — so we wouldn’t be surprised to see Gorilla Glass 6 on Apple’s next iPhone refresh.
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