The future of wearable technology is vast, and companies know this. That’s why we are seeing more and more wearable-specific components: Qualcomm introduced its very first wearable chipset earlier this year, and now Corning is following suit. The all new Gorilla Glass SR+ is designed with smartwatches in mind, focusing on scratch-resistance and optical transmission.
Corning first announced “Project Phire” back in 2015: it was an attempt to create a material for wearable technology that would combine the best features of its very own Gorilla Glass and sapphire. And Gorilla Glass SR+ is the result of this research. It boasts the durability of Gorilla Glass and (almost) the scratch-resistance of sapphire all the while being extremely thin and transparent.
Combining sapphire and technology isn’t a novel concept at all. Back in 2014, we saw the launch of the Kyocera Brigadier, rocking a 4.5-inch Sapphire Shield screen. Apple’s iPhones have had a sapphire home button for quite some time now. And the high-end Apple Watch comes with sapphire protection over its screen.
Sapphire is, in fact, remarkably hard, which makes it almost as scratch-resistant as diamond. Why isn’t everyone using sapphire then, especially companies like Samsung and Apple? Well, there are a few factors that suggest sapphire alone cannot be the answer.
First is availability (or the lack thereof): Apple was rumored to bring sapphire protection to the iPhone 6, but that did not happen, and it’s most likely to have been due to production issues. No company can deliver large enough quantities of the material to meet the demands of companies like Apple and Samsung. But there is a more practical reason too: sapphire’s optical transmission is poor. Its sheer thickness and high reflective index mean things aren’t as bright and visible as they can be.
That’s precisely why Corning was so set on finding a balance – something that would be thin, clear, durable, and scratch-resistant all at the same time. According to Corning’s figures, the all new Gorilla Glass SR+ is much more scratch-resistant than GG4 or GG5. In fact, it’s almost as scratch-resistant as sapphire itself. However, it’s at the same time almost as efficient in optical transmission as GG4 and GG5. Its thinness – which is comparable to GG4 and GG5 – plays a big role in it.
According to Corning’s figures, the all new Gorilla Glass SR+ is much more scratch-resistant than GG4 or GG5. In fact, it’s almost as scratch-resistant as sapphire itself.
It’s unclear whether Gorilla Glass SR+ actually has sapphire in it, but one thing is for sure: smartwatches are about to become stronger with even more scratch-resistance. Gorilla Glass SR+ is set to hit the market later this year, which means we could see it in the upcoming Gear S3 or Apple Watch 2.
Do you own a smartwatch? How important is scratch-resistance when it comes to buying a wearable device? Let us know in the comments below!
Corning Unveils Corning® Gorilla® Glass SR+, Designed to Overcome the Unique Challenges of Wearable Devices
CORNING, N.Y. | Corning Incorporated | August 30, 2016
Breakthrough glass composite delivers an unparalleled combination of toughness, scratch resistance and optical clarity for today’s wearable devices
Corning Incorporated (NYSE: GLW) today announced its groundbreaking innovation – Corning® Gorilla® Glass SR+. Specifically designed for wearable devices, this new glass composite significantly reduces visible scratches while delivering the toughness, optical clarity and touch sensitivity that make Gorilla Glass famous.
With rigorous daily activity, consumers put their wearable devices to the test, leaving them exposed to damage. To overcome the challenges facing the screens on these devices, Corning scientists developed a new glass composite engineered to better endure the bumps, knocks and scrapes wearables encounter while maintaining the optical clarity and touch sensitivity required for on-the-go connectivity.
In a league of its own
In lab tests, Corning Gorilla Glass SR+ demonstrated superior scratch resistance approaching that of alternative luxury cover materials, while delivering up to 70 percent better damage resistance against impacts and 25 percent better surface reflection than those alternative materials. Such step improvements in optical performance enable longer battery life and improved outdoor readability.
“In early 2015, Corning launched Project Phire with the goal of engineering glass-based solutions with the scratch resistance approaching luxury cover materials, combined with the superior damage resistance of Gorilla Glass,” said Scott Forester, director, innovation products, Corning Gorilla Glass. “Corning Gorilla Glass SR+ delivers a superior combination of properties that is not available in any other material today – it is in a class of its own.”
Leveraging its strengths in glass science and fusion manufacturing, Corning leads the cover glass industry it created nearly 10 years ago. Corning Gorilla Glass has been used on more than 4.5 billion devices worldwide, including more than 1,800 product models across 40 major brands. With the introduction of Corning Gorilla Glass SR+, the one company that has been innovating with glass for 165 years offers manufacturers of wearable devices a clear alternative to luxury cover materials.
Corning Gorilla Glass SR+ is commercially available and is expected to be on product models from leading global brands later this year.
Forward-Looking and Cautionary Statements
This press release contains “forward-looking statements” (within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995), which are based on current expectations and assumptions about Corning’s financial results and business operations, that involve substantial risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially. These risks and uncertainties include: the effect of global political, economic and business conditions; conditions in the financial and credit markets; currency fluctuations; tax rates; product demand and industry capacity; competition; reliance on a concentrated customer base; manufacturing efficiencies; cost reductions; availability of critical components and materials; new product commercialization; pricing fluctuations and changes in the mix of sales between premium and non-premium products; new plant start-up or restructuring costs; possible disruption in commercial activities due to terrorist activity, armed conflict, political or financial instability, natural disasters, adverse weather conditions, or major health concerns; adequacy of insurance; equity company activities; acquisition and divestiture activities; the level of excess or obsolete inventory; the rate of technology change; the ability to enforce patents; product and components performance issues; retention of key personnel; stock price fluctuations; and adverse litigation or regulatory developments. These and other risk factors are detailed in Corning’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the day that they are made, and Corning undertakes no obligation to update them in light of new information or future events.
Digital Media Disclosure
In accordance with guidance provided by the SEC regarding the use of company websites and social media channels to disclose material information, Corning Incorporated (“Corning”) wishes to notify investors, media, and other interested parties that it intends to use its website (http://www.corning.com/worldwide/en/about-us/news-events.html) to publish important information about the company, including information that may be deemed material to investors. The list of websites and social media channels that the company uses may be updated on Corning’s media and website from time to time. Corning encourages investors, media, and other interested parties to review the information Corning may publish through its website and social media channels as described above, in addition to the company’s SEC filings, press releases, conference calls, and webcasts.
About Corning Incorporated
Corning (www.corning.com) is one of the world’s leading innovators in materials science. For more than 160 years, Corning has applied its unparalleled expertise in specialty glass, ceramics, and optical physics to develop products that have created new industries and transformed people’s lives. Corning succeeds through sustained investment in R&D, a unique combination of material and process innovation, and close collaboration with customers to solve tough technology challenges. Corning’s businesses and markets are constantly evolving. Today, Corning’s products enable diverse industries such as consumer electronics, telecommunications, transportation, and life sciences. They include damage-resistant cover glass for smartphones and tablets; precision glass for advanced displays; optical fiber, wireless technologies, and connectivity solutions for high-speed communications networks; trusted products that accelerate drug discovery and manufacturing; and emissions-control products for cars, trucks, and off-road vehicles.
Infographic describing how Gorilla Glass SR+ fits into the Gorilla Glass product family can be found here: http://www.corning.com/media/worldwide/global/documents/Gorilla_Glass_Portf…