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Gorilla Glass May Be the Google of Mobile Screens

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Corning, with its Gorilla Glass innovation, is the industry standard when it comes to smartphone and tablet glass.

That doesn't mean, however, that the glass doesn't break sometimes, as anyone who has dropped his or her device on a hard surface can attest. But Corning is hoping to ease those incidents with its new version, Gorilla Glass 4.

"Gorilla Glass 4 provides at least two times improved damage resistance over competitive aluminosilicate glass, as measured by retained strength after damage events, resulting in improved mechanical durability of the glass to in-field damage events, such as drops," said the company in a statement.

According to the company, Gorilla Glass 4 will survive a fall from 3.3 feet 80 percent of the time. In other words, while a user shouldn't be careless with their devices, for the odd drop, Gorilla Glass 4 should provide much better drop resistance.

Corning made the announcement after in-depth experimentation with broken screens, with fractologists studying screens to figure out exactly why they shatter.

"They bought a bunch of phones, and started dropping them in our labs with a scientifically defined test mechanism," said Cliff Hund, president of Corning East Asia.

The conclusion by scientists was that the best way to test the strength of Gorilla Glass was to drop a device face down from a height of one meter, or 3.3 feet, onto a surface of 180-grit sandpaper.

Corning manufactures the glass using a proprietary "fusion draw" process, which is able to maintain thinness, durability and glass clarity while making the glass stronger. It is likely Gorilla Glass 4 will appear on a large number of devices, as more than 40 manufacturers have used it in 1,395 models so far, the company says. Since Corning first launched Gorilla Glass in 2007 it has been used in 3 billion devices.

"Corning Gorilla Glass has outperformed competing materials, such as soda-lime glass and other strengthened glass, since it was introduced in 2007, and we're always innovating to push the limits of what glass can do," said James R. Steiner, senior vice president and general manager of Corning Specialty Materials. "With Gorilla Glass 4, we have focused on significantly improving protection against sharp contact damage, which is the primary reason that mobile devices break. Dropping and breaking a phone is a common problem, and one that our customers have asked us to help address."

The new glass is still under testing review by Corning and likely will begin appearing on devices starting next year. 

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