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At 0.6mm thin, Corning unveils Gorilla Glass 5 promising more protection from smartphone falls

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Smartphone users are all too familiar with those shattered screens on their beloved phones. Despite all the caution, most users are guilty of dropping their smartphones either while taking them out from pockets or while taking that perfect selfie. But they need not worry about it anymore, so does the famed glass manufacturer Corning says.

Corning today has unveiled the fifth iteration of its famed Gorilla Glass, over two years later than the fourth one. And it comes with stronger and sturdier features giving four times better protection to smartphones than other glasses.

According to a press release, Corning said that they have tested Gorilla Glass 5 for face-down falls from 1.6 metres onto rough surfaces. And guess what? The glass survived 80% of times which makes it way ahead of its competitor glasses.

There is a reason behind testing for that particular height. Corning says that their internal data showed that average height of a smartphone drop is over a meter high. That is somewhere from waist height to shoulder height of an average person.

We recently did a survey, and it’s fairly obvious that everyone drops their phone. We find that the average height is over a meter high. Based on our internal data on drop events, our data shows that Gorilla Glass 5 outperforms 4 by 1.8-times,

explained SVP Jim Steiner.

Corning also revealed another interesting statistic highlighting the immense utility of Gorilla Glass in a smartphone. It cited a global study according to which over 85% of smartphone owners have dropped their phones at least once per year. And 55% have dropped their phones three times or more.

Not only this, more than 60% of smartphone owners reported dropping their devices between shoulder and waist height. Gorilla Glass 5 takes care of all these problems and mistakes of smartphone owners. Corning has changed the materials that make up the glass and also made changes in chemicals for strengthening it.

Consequently, Gorilla Glass 5 packs a superior punch than its predecessor Gorilla Glass 4 launched in 2014. Gorilla Glass 4 was also twice as strong as previous glasses and was twice likely to survive falls. But it supported height of nearly 1 metre only. While Gorilla Glass 5 tops that height but when it comes to scratch resistance, it is roughly equal to its older version.

A word of caution, though. The launch of Gorilla Glass 5 does not mean that you can become totally careless about your phone as it is tested only for flat drops. In the real world, there is a large number of drops which happen on edges and corners. And protection from those depends a lot on the design of overall smartphone which in turn is largely dependent on OEM.

Explaining the same, Corning’s vice president and general manager John Bayne said,

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. If it sits up really high, we call that a proud design. If it’s protected by the bezel of the design then, it’s – not proud. So if you have a device that has a proud design, that one wouldn’t perform as well as one that had a different design.

So yeah, keep in mind the design of your smartphone as well and at the same time, watch out for those nasty drops on corners and edges!

The latest version of Gorilla Glass is commercially available now. We can see devices coming under the protection of Gorilla Glass 5 sometime later this quarter(maybe even the Note7). Meanwhile, the company will continue supplying versions 3 and 4 to manufacturers at a lowered price point. However, it will eventually phase out support for them in future.


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