In the past, we have seen Corning make some tough glass for smartphones, which included last year’s Gorilla Glass 2 that we have come to see in many premium devices. This year at CES, they introduced their Gorilla Glass 3 and showed it off for all to see, and they are back at it with more fun demonstrations of the “tough as nails” glass at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.
To recap a bit, last year’s Gorilla Glass 2 was 20 percent thinner than its predecessor, and had the same strength and durability with improved touch-sensitivity. It was able to withstand up to 121 pounds of pressure from the demonstrations we saw. Now the Gorilla Glass 3 features what is called Native Damage Resistance, which means that there is a vastly improved resistances to scratches. The feature is said to be up to three times more damage resistant than Gorilla Glass 2, while reducing the visibility of the scratches, and improved retention of the glass’ overall strength if damaged.
Corning’s demonstration began with a steel ball, which was encased in a clear tube and leveraged so it could be dropped from different angles onto a single square of Gorilla Glass, and the same treatment was then given to a competitor’s brand of glass. This is to demonstrate the impact resistant nature of the glass, comparing and contrasting to a competitor’s brand. Dropped from a 10 degree angle for starters, the Gorilla Glass was barely scratched and gave that “so what” aspect, while the other glass met an untimely demise of spiderweb cracks and lack of self-esteem.
That was the first test. The second test became a little more sophisticated, where Corning decided that 10 degrees just wasn’t good enough, and pushed the envelope with a 30 degree angle drop. To sweeten the deal a bit, they have decided to pit their Gorilla Glass 3 against a piece of aluminum, giving the other glass a break (no pun intended). Corning’s Gorilla Glass kept its composure through the test, with similar results from the prior test, while the aluminum predictably received a solid dent. With a comparison like that, it’s reminiscent of the days where glass on a smartphone was a beautifully bad idea because it breaks too easy, and thus aluminum seemed to be the better design choice.
The next part is one of my favorites during Corning’s demonstrations; the pressure gauge. This test is used to determine how many pounds of pressure the glass can withstand before shattering to a will stronger than its own. It would simulate the force it can handle should you sit down on one, leave it under a pile of books, or whatever else you may or may not do. First the competitor’s glass stepped up, and shattered quickly in the test, while the Gorilla Glass 3, in all its glory, held up to a little over 100 pounds of pressure.
How this will be carried out, though, still remains behind closed curtains, but we are expecting the first device featuring the Gorilla Glass 3 to turn up around the middle of this year. Do you think Gorilla Glass 3 could one day replace the aluminum body on a phone and be more durable?