When it comes to smartphones, there is absolutely nothing more terrifying than the period of time between a phone slipping out of your hand and hitting the ground. It’s a brief moment, but it feels like an eternity. Even the best smartphone cases in the world won’t always protect your handset’s glass screen when it falls at just the right angle, but the next smartphone you buy might actually escape those nasty drops unscathed thanks to Corning’s latest development.

Corning on Thursday announced the availability of its new generation of glass, Gorilla Glass 4.

The company’s previous-generation glass, Gorilla Glass 3, is found on most popular smartphones and tablets, and it is indeed strong enough to withstand some drops. According to Corning, however, Gorilla Glass 4 is better in every way.

“Corning Gorilla Glass has outperformed competing materials such as soda-lime glass and other strengthened glass, since it was introduced in 2007, and we’re always innovating to push the limits of what glass can do,” said Corning GM James R. Steiner. “With Gorilla Glass 4, we have focused on significantly improving protection against sharp contact damage, which is the primary reason that mobile devices break. Dropping and breaking a phone is a common problem, and one that our customers have asked us to help address.”

Corning says Gorilla Glass 4 is designed specifically to withstand impact from everyday drops, and it is at least twice as strong as competing glasses from other companies. According to Corning’s internal tests, Gorilla Glass 4 survives everyday drops as much as 80% of the time.

The company’s full press release follows below.

Corning Redefines the Standard in Damage Resistance With Gorilla® Glass 4

Up to two times better performance over competitive glasses when dropped on rough surfaces

CORNING, N.Y. — Corning Incorporated (NYSE:GLW) today announced its latest breakthrough innovation in consumer electronics material design, the revolutionary

Corning® Gorilla® Glass 4, which is up to two times tougher than any competitive cover glass design now in the market. The new Gorilla Glass 4 has been formulated to address consumers’ No. 1 issue – screen breakage from everyday drops.

Gorilla Glass 4 provides at least two times improved damage resistance over competitive aluminosilicate glass, as measured by retained strength after damage events, resulting in improved mechanical durability of the glass to in-field damage events, such as drops.

Corning scientists examined hundreds of broken devices and found that damage caused by sharp contact accounted for more than 70 percent of field failures. The scientists then developed new drop-test methods that simulate real-world break events, based on thousands of hours analyzing cover glass that had broken in the field or laboratory. The scientists used the new methods to drop devices face down from one meter, such that the cover glass directly contacted a rough surface. They found:

• Gorilla Glass 4 is up to two times tougher than competitive glasses
• Gorilla Glass 4 survives up to 80 percent of the time
• Soda-lime glass, as deployed in today’s commercial devices, breaks nearly 100 percent of the time.

“Corning® Gorilla® Glass has outperformed competing materials such as soda-lime glass and other strengthened glass, since it was introduced in 2007, and we’re always innovating to push the limits of what glass can do,” said James R. Steiner, senior vice president and general manager, Corning Specialty Materials. “With Gorilla Glass 4, we have focused on significantly improving protection against sharp contact damage, which is the primary reason that mobile devices break. Dropping and breaking a phone is a common problem, and one that our customers have asked us to help address.”

Gorilla Glass 4 is manufactured using Corning’s proprietary fusion draw process. It maintains the thinness, durability, and optical clarity for which Gorilla Glass is known, while dramatically improving drop performance. Gorilla Glass is the cover glass of choice for device manufacturers around the globe. Over 40 manufacturers have designed Gorilla Glass into a total of 1,395 product models, and have branded Gorilla Glass touch cover glass as a key selling feature. Since its launch in 2007, Gorilla Glass has been featured in more than 3 billion devices.

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