Gorilla Glass 4 hands

Today Corning has announced the latest revision of its sturdy glass technology, Gorilla Glass 4. The focus this time around is to prevent damage caused by the most common accident to befall smartphones – dropping.

Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3, found in the vast majority of modern smartphones, is already made of tough stuff, but Gorilla Glass 4 looks to be stronger and more durable than before. Corning has accomplished this by testing cracks and breakages caused when dropping existing smartphones.

They bought a bunch of phones, and started dropping them in our labs with a scientifically defined test mechanism. – Cliff Hund, president of Corning East Asia

After taking various handsets into the lab for testing, which involved dropping devices from 1 meter on to 180-grit sandpaper, Corning found that its new glass survived 80 percent of face down drops and retained much more of its initial strength that older and rival products. That marks a twofold improvement over Gorilla Glass 3 and other hardened, aluminosilicate glass types.

You can see a short video of the test below.

Corning’s Gorilla Glass is facing increased competition from rival Sapphire Glass manufacturers, which is slowly finding uses in applications like watches and camera lenses as well as the occasional phone, and cheaper alternatives such as Soda lime glass. As a result, Gorilla Glass sales have fallen this year. However, the extra protection offered by Gorilla Glass 4 should help to see off the competition, for now.

While an 80 percent survival chance doesn’t eliminate the problem entirely, it’s great to hear that future smartphones will be that little bit more durable.