Because the story goes, simply six weeks earlier than the unique iPhone was launched CEO Steve Jobs bought irritated that the plastic display screen of the prototype machine he was utilizing bought scratched up, so a final minute change noticed Apple change to glass.
And never simply any glass, however Gorilla Glass. This chemically-strengthened glass was created by Corning and has since develop into 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 bought its begin within the mid-Nineteenth century and made lenses for railroad sign lights and later automotive headlights. It made the glass for Thomas Edison’s mild bulb. In 1915 it created Pyrex cookware. Then within the 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 the whole lot 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 properly. From the tiny Samsung Corby to the i8910 Omnia HD powerhouse. From the fashionable LG KM900 Enviornment to the distinctive LG BL40 New Chocolate.
It was additionally on the Nokia X6 (now that the Finns had been shifting 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’ll discuss wearables later). And these are simply a few of the telephones from 2009.
By 2010 round 20% of cellphones featured Gorilla Glass, some 200 million gadgets. 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 Cellphone handset, the Ativ S, as did HTC on the creatively named Home windows Cellphone 8X.
By now Nokia had develop into 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 very new formulation. It was extra proof against scratches and the scratches it did obtain had been much less seen due to one thing Corning referred to as “Native Injury Resistance”.
To display it on the MWC, Corning dropped a 135g metal ball on a standard piece of glass and GG3. The conventional 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 inexpensive 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 (keep in mind that this was again within the 16:9 days, this factor was 85.9mm extensive and 164.2mm tall).
Gorilla Glass 3 was one of the crucial profitable formulations for Corning and it nonetheless sees use to this present day, listed below are a couple of trendy gadgets. The Pixel 6a makes use of it for its show. The Asus ROG Cellphone 6 Professional makes use of it for its again. Curiously, 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 have not talked about Apple shortly, what occurred? With the iPhone 5 in 2012 the corporate stopped utilizing the trademarked “Gorilla Glass” title and began calling it “ion-strengthened glass” as an alternative. 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 would cowl the show of iPhones. Sadly, the GT Superior went bankrupt whereas making an attempt to develop the expertise to make it attainable. Sapphire Crystal has been used on some telephones, however none which have the gross sales quantity of iPhones. It’s largely 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 diminished 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 keeping with Corning, it diminished reflections by 75%, which improved display screen distinction by 50%. This was 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.
A couple of years later Corning reintroduced Gorilla Glass DX and DX+ as safety for digicam lenses. The scratch resistance and improved optical efficiency is simply as essential for cameras as it’s for watches. DX and DX+ let 98% of sunshine go by means of whereas lowering reflections (which may trigger glare in images).
The most recent formulations from Corning are Gorilla Glass Victus and Victus+ (it stopped with the quantity variations after 6). Primarily based on official assessments, 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+ at the moment are 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 a protracted historical past of constructing glass for bigger shows like TVs too (although that does not get marketed underneath the “Gorilla Glass” title).
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 will probably bend, not one thing you see glass do usually. However making it sturdy sufficient for a whole bunch of every day fold and unfold cycles is not any straightforward feat. Nonetheless, it is an essential drawback to resolve as foldables are seen as the way forward for smartphones by some.
By 2020 Corning’s Gorilla Glass has been featured on 8 billion gadgets 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 explanation it was wanted within the first place has not gone away.