Because the story goes, simply six weeks earlier than the unique iPhone was launched CEO Steve Jobs acquired irritated that the plastic display screen of the prototype gadget he was utilizing acquired scratched up, so a final minute change noticed Apple swap to glass.
And never simply any glass, however Gorilla Glass. This chemically-strengthened glass was created by Corning and has since grow to be a staple of the smartphone market. Let’s take a look at a little bit of historical past first earlier than attending to the smartphone period.
Corning acquired its begin within the mid-Nineteenth century and made lenses for railroad sign lights and later automobile headlights. It made the glass for Thomas Edison’s gentle bulb. In 1915 it created Pyrex cookware. Then within the Nineteen Sixties it began making home windows for NASA spacecraft, together with the area shuttle. Quick ahead to 2006 and we get to the fateful assembly between Apple and Corning.
Plastic screens had been the norm in that period, however Apple cares an excessive amount of about aesthetics to let a tool get scratched up. Greater than that, the iPhone was a touchscreen-based cellphone, the display screen was its every little thing and it needed to be protected.
That was true of different smartphones too as they transition from keypads and keyboards to touchscreens. The early iPhones used Gorilla Glass and so did the T-Cellular G1, the primary ever Android cellphone.
Contact telephones operating nearly each OS on earth adopted Corning’s glass as effectively. From the tiny Samsung Corby to the i8910 Omnia HD powerhouse. From the fashionable LG KM900 Area to the distinctive LG BL40 New Chocolate.
It was additionally on the Nokia X6 (now that the Finns had been transferring away from resistive contact), in addition to the Motorola Droid/Milestsone, the rugged Sonim XP3.20 Quest and even the LG GD910 watch cellphone (we are going to speak about wearables later). And these are simply a number of the telephones from 2009.
By 2010 round 20% of cellphones featured Gorilla Glass, some 200 million units. In 2012 the sequel was introduced – sheets of Gorilla Glass 2 might be 20% thinner whereas staying simply as powerful.
GG2 was utilized by the likes of the Galaxy S III and the camera-turned-phone Galaxy Digital camera GC100. Samsung additionally used it on its Home windows Telephone handset, the Ativ S, as did HTC on the creatively named Home windows Telephone 8X.
By now Nokia had grow to be a fan of the glass and it featured on the Lumia 920. Different influential telephones to make use of GG2 embody the Oppo Discover 5 and the LG Optimus G. The glass was even appropriate for 3D shows as seen on the Optimus 3D Max.
Gorilla Glass 3 arrived in 2013, a totally new formulation. It was extra immune to scratches and the scratches it did obtain had been much less seen due to one thing Corning referred to as “Native Harm Resistance”.
To reveal it on the MWC, Corning dropped a 135g metal ball on a standard piece of glass and GG3. The traditional glass cracked, so it was changed by a sheet of aluminum. Dropping the ball once more left a dent within the aluminum, however Gorilla Glass 3 survived unscathed.
The sequels to some acquainted faces used GG3. The Galaxy S4, Note3 and S4 zoom from Samsung, for instance. The reasonably priced Moto G, its premium sibling Moto X (each made by Google-owned Motorola) and the LG Nexus 5.
There was additionally the Nokia Lumia 1020 and the sizable Lumia 1320 with its 6″ display screen (do not forget that this was again within the 16:9 days, this factor was 85.9mm broad and 164.2mm tall).
Gorilla Glass 3 was one of the profitable formulations for Corning and it nonetheless sees use to today, listed below are just a few fashionable units. The Pixel 6a makes use of it for its show. The Asus ROG Telephone 6 Professional makes use of it for its again. Apparently, the Motorola Edge 30 Professional makes use of GG3 for the entrance and GG5 for the again. It’s nonetheless utilized by a rugged Sonim cellphone and the Ulefone Energy Armor 14 Professional.
We’ve not talked about Apple shortly, what occurred? With the iPhone 5 in 2012 the corporate stopped utilizing the trademarked “Gorilla Glass” identify and began calling it “ion-strengthened glass” as a substitute. It was nonetheless a Corning product, nonetheless.
Cupertino truly tried switching away from glass round this level. It was working with GT Superior, an organization that made sapphire crystal screens for the Apple Watch. These had been additionally used to guard the digicam and Contact ID fingerprint readers. However Apple needed greater sheets, ones that might cowl the show of iPhones. Sadly, the GT Superior went bankrupt whereas attempting to develop the know-how to make it attainable. Sapphire Crystal has been used on some telephones, however none which have the gross sales quantity of iPhones. It’s principally a watch factor.
It is a good segue into Gorilla Glass SR+, a glass from 2016 designed particularly designed for wearables. It supplied higher injury resistance and lowered display screen reflections in comparison with “various luxurious cowl supplies”.
Then in 2018 got here Gorilla Glass DX and DX+, improved glass for wearables. In line with Corning, it lowered reflections by 75%, which improved display screen distinction by 50%. This was very important for smartwatches, which solely had tiny batteries to energy their shows. The distinction between the DX and DX+ was that the plus mannequin was tougher.
Just a few years later Corning reintroduced Gorilla Glass DX and DX+ as safety for digicam lenses. The scratch resistance and improved optical efficiency is simply as vital for cameras as it’s for watches. DX and DX+ let 98% of sunshine go by means of whereas decreasing reflections (which may trigger glare in pictures).
The newest formulations from Corning are Gorilla Glass Victus and Victus+ (it stopped with the quantity variations after 6). Primarily based on official checks, a smartphone with Victus glass on the entrance can survive a fall from 2m (6.5ft) onto concrete and nonetheless have a functioning show. It additionally boasted superior scratch resistance in comparison with earlier generations.
Victus and Victus+ are actually the norm for flagships – the Samsung Galaxy S22 Extremely, Asus Zenfone 9, Google Pixel 6 Professional, Xiaomi 12S Extremely, Sony Xperia 1 IV, the Galaxy Xcover 6 Professional, OnePlus 10 Professional, Oppo Discover X5 Professional and plenty of others.
Corning has additionally made Gorilla Glass for tablets and even laptops. The corporate has an extended historical past of constructing glass for bigger shows like TVs too (although that does not get marketed beneath the “Gorilla Glass” identify).
Corning’s subsequent problem is foldable telephones – some use “Extremely Skinny Glass” (UTG), which measures one third the thickness of a human hair. It is so skinny that it could actually bend, not one thing you see glass do usually. However making it sturdy sufficient for lots of of day by day fold and unfold cycles isn’t any straightforward feat. Nonetheless, it is an vital downside to unravel as foldables are seen as the way forward for smartphones by some.
By 2020 Corning’s Gorilla Glass has been featured on 8 billion units created by over 45 OEMs. It has been a wild success, contemplating that the unique GG was put collectively in a rush, developed in simply 4 months. It has gone by means of many iterations and enhancements and the rationale it was wanted within the first place has not gone away.