A collection of example glass material customized using Gorilla Glass 6 Ink Jet technology.

  • Corning today unveiled its latest iteration of smartphone glass: Gorilla Glass 6.
  • Along with the new product, it demonstrated a new technology called Ink Jet which can allow you to fully customize glass.
  • The technique could be used to create photorealistic smartphone backs, new glass textures, and more.


You know how you painstakingly search for the perfect phone case that expresses who you are as a person, whether it be through color, imagery, or design? What if you could do that but with the actual glass back of the smartphone itself?

The technology to do so exists, and according to Corning – the creators of the recently-unveiled Gorilla Glass 6 – device manufacturers are incredibly excited to start using this next-generation etching process. Corning is branding the technology as Corning Vibrant Ink Jet.

A picture is worth a thousand words, so check out this gallery of images we shot at the Gorilla Glass 6 event today:

Do you see that Star Wars glass-backed laptop? Unnnngggghhhh…

According to Corning, the only real roadblock preventing OEMs from going hog wild with this customization technology is worries about supply and demand. As an example, that Star Wars laptop looks awesome and would likely sell out in minutes, but what if it didn’t? There’s no way to backtrack and undo the etching, which means that product would have to be sold as is.

However, the same argument could be made against niche devices like the OnePlus 6 Marvel Avengers Limited Edition, or even the Best Buy exclusive “Sunrise Gold” color of the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus. That doesn’t seem to be a problem, so why would this be one?

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Theoretically, Corning Vibrant Ink Jet technology could also allow consumers to customize their own devices fully. Corning said that it’s feasible for a consumer to upload a picture of their kids and then have that image photorealistically etched right into the back glass of a smartphone. That is a premium feature that many people would likely pay for.

The Ink Jet process also allows for glass texture, which even by itself is exciting. Imagine a phone with a glass back (hello, wireless charging) but with the texture of the original OnePlus One sandstone back? I would gladly pay $50 – $100 more for my smartphone with that feature, no question.

And if you’re worried about how this Ink Jet process would affect the durability of the phone, Corning says that the etching process actually makes the glass stronger and more resistant to scratches and drops. That’s because the smoothness of glass is what makes it so fragile; once you add texture, it gets stronger.

What do you think? Would this customization feature make you more or less excited to get a glass-backed phone? Let us know in the comments!

NEXT: Corning announces Gorilla Glass 6 for next-generation smartphones

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