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Corning's Gorilla Glass 5 Can Survive epic smartphone drops


Corning, the popular glassmaker for mobile devices, on Wednesday unveiled Gorilla Glass 5 for flagship devices. The company said that the Corning Gorilla Glass 5 in its internal lab tests survived up to 80 percent of the time when dropped face-down from up to 1.6 metres. Corning claimed that the new glass was tested on all type of surfaces including rough ones. Corning Gorilla Glass 5 is now commercially available and is expected to be seen on devices later this year.

Called Gorilla Glass 5, the new glass was formulated to improve drop performance from gadgets that are dropped onto rough surfaces from certain heights — specifically, waist height to shoulder height. Selfie-fumblers rejoice: Corning says Gorilla Glass 5 survives up to 80 percent of the time when dropped from 1.6 meters.

The new glass is the successor to Corning Gorilla Glass 4, which was introduced in the fall of 2014. Gorilla Glass 4 was said to be twice as tough as the previous version of its glass and twice as likely to survive drops onto uneven surfaces — but only from about a meter high.

Announcing the new Gorilla Glass 5, John Bayne, Vice President and General Manager, Corning Gorilla Glass, said, "With each successive generation of Corning Gorilla Glass, we have taken cover glass technology to new levels. Gorilla Glass 5 is no exception, extending Corning's advantage in drop performance over competitive glasses. With many real-world drops occurring from between waist and shoulder height, we knew improving drop performance would be an important and necessary advancement."

Gorilla Glass first started showing up in consumer electronics devices in 2007. Since then it has iterated on the glass to improve overall durability and scratch-resistance while also making it thinner. At the time Gorilla Glass first shipped, global smartphone penetration was only around 10 percent; now it's nearly 75 percent. Corning says 4.5 billion device units have been shipped with its glass to date. Manufacturers like Samsung, HTC, Lenovo, Huawei, LG, HP, and Asus have all made devices using the glass, along with other unnamed device makers.

Gorilla Glass 5 is in production now and the company says we should hear more about it "in the next few months." So, there's a decent chance it will be ready just in time for all of the fall hardware events.

"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," Bayne said. Much of this is dependent on what's known as the "proudness" of the glass, which refers to how high above the phone the glass sits. "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."