Corning’s new Gorilla Glass 5 is meant to survive epic smartphone drops

Corning has managed the remarkable feat of making smartphone glass – if not sexy exactly, at the very least compelling. Smartphone makers tend not to go out of their way when it comes to talking up third-party component manufacturers, but name-checking Gorilla Glass has become common practice at product unveils, a sort of shorthand for a company’s commitment to making their devices more, well, life-proof.

After all, most of us have likely witnessed the fragility of our mobile devices first-hand. The difference between pristine and spider web shards is one ham-handed fumble above the pavement. Earlier this year, Corning announced that its Gorilla Glass technology has been employed on 4.5 billion devices thus far.


“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,” explained SVP Jim Steiner. “Based on our internal data on drop events, our data shows that Gorilla Glass 5 outperforms 4 by 1.8-times.”

The glass protecting the display on your next smartphone will likely be a lot stronger than the Gorilla Glass used on your current device. Corning has unveiled Gorilla Glass 5, boasting that it has an 80% chance of surviving a drop from 1.6 meters (5 feet, 4 inches). According to a recent Corning survey, most smartphones are dropped from more than a meter in height. Unfortunately, Gorilla Glass 5 doesn’t offer huge improvements in scratch protection over Gorilla Glass 4. This means you’ll still get occasional scratches on your device from everyday use, even if you don’t drop the phone.

While Corning claims that its Gorilla Glass products have been used on 4.5 billion devices already, not all manufacturers use the latest version of Gorilla Glass – even though it’s been on the market for two years. Gorilla Glass 5 is already available to manufacturers and will be making its debut on new smartphones later this year.

The scratch resistance, on the other hand (which is measured by sticking a phone in a purse inside of a spinning barrel), is roughly on-par with version 4, according to the company. The new glass is available now for manufacturers. Products utilizing the technology will start popping up this quarter.

For the time being, the company is keeping versions 3 and 4 available to manufacturers at a lowered price point, but will likely start to wind down the former in the near future.

Until then, we recommend picking up a Motorola phone with Shatter Shield protected display if you’re prone to dropping your phone on a regular basis.


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