Corning created Gorilla Glass Victus 2, the new cover glass that the company unveiled today, in order to protect big, fat phones.
The benchmark was 160g, which is higher than the original iPhone, which weighed 135g when Corning started making integral glass 15 years ago and began experimenting with mobile devices.
Unlike the iPhone 14 Pro, which weighs in at 206g, the iPhone 14 Pro Max, which weighs in at 240 grams, or the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, which weighs in at 228 grams.
Corning VP and General Manager for Gorilla Glass David R.
Velasquez told me this week that modern smartphones are now packed with far more technology (better cameras, more sensors, bigger batteries) and are heavier and denser than the phones Corning was originally testing on.
Now the benchmark is 200g. Weight isn’t the only part of Corning’s testing process that’s changed, and more importantly, this Gorilla Glass isn’t the same either, it’s still shy of the weight of some recent phones.
Victus 2 is a new Gorilla Glass formulation. When we asked for specifics, Velasquez confirmed that it’s different than the original Victus, which was introduced two years ago, but added “It’s better, that’s as much detail as I can give.”
The result is a thinner glass that can stand up equally well to scratches but offers better breakage performance.
Corning, though, has changed its testing methodology. After years of dropping thousands of phones from 1M and 2M heights on simulated asphalt surfaces (sandpaper representing the coarseness of the surface with the metal underneath it), Corning has added in simulated concrete. Guess they finally realized that we drop as many phones on the sidewalk as we do on the street.
With “concrete,” Corning is testing Gorilla Glass Victus 2 at 1M and still using “asphalt” for 2M tests. It’s the jaggedness of the surfaces so the difference isn’t so much hardness. Corning sent me a sheet embedded with two sandpaper squares designed to simulate both surfaces to demonstrate. The “concrete” one is noticeably rougher to the touch.
It’s not just larger phones that are making Corning’s job harder. Velasquez reminded me that there was a time when protecting glass screens was comparatively easier.
“Back in the old days, before there were shaped glass parts, most of the design work was around the framing the phones would have.
The iPhone 4 was the first time glass was elevated, a huge change and much more likely to break,” he said.
These days phones like Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, Google Pixel 7 Pro, and the iPhone 14 Pro seem to be made almost entirely of glass.
As far as Corning is concerned, making a phone that doesn’t break is their specialty, but the relationship between Corning and the manufacturer of the phone doesn’t work quite the same way.
“OEMs come to us frequently [and say], ‘Here’s what we launch 3, 5 years from now. Can you do this in glass, if so, what are the design considerations?’” explained Velasquez.
What follows are conversations and even some adjustments of molecules and how they’re designed to strengthen the glass.
Velasquez was quick to add that phone manufacturers do not get bespoke glass products. However, understanding the direction phone manufacturers are heading can impact the kinds of glass (maybe even Victus 2) Corning produces now and in the future.
While Gorilla Glass Victus 2 is stronger than Victus 1, Corning has no control over how phone manufacturers use it.
“Most phone companies take this much better glass, and they make it thinner. Phones can never be thin enough, or they make a more aggressive design,” said Velasquez.
Do you know how to fold it?
Speaking of aggressive designs, I had to ask about bendable glass. It is currently not possible to bend Corning’s products, but in the future, it will be possible.
Velasquez confirmed that Corning is in “deep discussion with all big customers on where they’re going. Some are further along than others.”
The company expects to have launched in the next couple of years but could share little else about its plans. In spite of this, Velasquez says Corning is very enthusiastic about bendable glass.
“What’s great about partnering with customers on enabling bendable designs, is it’s hard to have glass bending and touching itself. It’s one of the hardest possible problems you can imagine. Corning tends to excel where the problem is really difficult.
For now, though, Corning and its partners are rubbing their teeth against almost unbreakable and just-as-hard-to-scratch Gorilla Glass Victus 2. OEMs have the glass samples, and there are already some “design-ins happening.” Valesquez expects “announcements from some of our partners in the next three months” we await smartphone glass that is truly unbreakable in the meantime.
Corning is working on it, but Velasquez told me “Not there yet but gonna be continuing fighting that fight.”
The Best Phones of 2022 make the perfect starting point for those looking for phones equipped with Corning’s Gorilla Glass Victus.