Gorilla Glass 4 was designed to resist breakage from falls of less than 3 feet. Because many people raise their phones overhead, or to shoulder height to take selfies, Corning re-engineered Gorilla Glass 5 to resist breakage from falls of as much as 5 feet. Additionally, the new glass is thinner than previous versions. According to Corning, the new glass has an 80% survival rate when dropped from a height of 5 feet or less. Corning used .6mm thick sheets of Gorilla Glass 5 to conduct the original testing on which those claims were made. The production version of Gorilla Glass 5 will be .4mm thick, so the survivability of the glass may still be an issue.
Corning is already shipping the product and consumers can expect to see Gorilla Glass 5 on iPhones in the fall. Corning also says it has the next generation of Gorilla Glass in the works, and believes that may be virtually unbreakable. Corning announced earlier this year that it was working on “Phire” – a new formulation of Gorilla Glass that is believed to incorporate sapphire into the surface. Sapphire is the second-hardest surface behind diamond, and is exceptionally resistant to scratching.
Corning hasn’t predicted when Phire may be ready for market, but it would not be the first time someone has tried to incorporate the properties of sapphire into mobile screens. Apple contracted with a company called GT Advanced to create sapphire-based mobile screens for its iPhones. Although the proof-of-concept worked, the company encountered serious production problems that it could not resolve, and was unable to deliver the product. Eventually, Apple canceled its order. Although Apple will be using the product, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 will be the first phone on the market to use the new glass.
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Photo Credit: Doctor Popular, via Flickr.com