The dread that comes after dropping a smartphone is matched only by the sense of despair when the manufacturer reveals how much it costs to fix.
But now glassmaker Corning is toughening up the glass it provides to dozens of smartphone makers in an upgrade that should protect screens even when dropped from shoulder height.
Corning supplies the material to most leading Android phone manufacturers, including Samsung, HTC, LG and OnePlus, and claims that the fifth iteration of its Gorilla Glass will remain intact after 80% of drops from 1.2 metres – approximately five feet.
As the Verge reports, these stats come with a couple of caveats. The 80% figure is drawn from tests involving glass that is 0.6mm thick, while Corning supplies glass to smartphone markers that is 0.4mm as well. The tests also involved the phones falling flat on to the screen.
Corning’s general manager told the Verge: “What will define the performance of the overall device on those types of corner drops is stiffness of the phone design, but also how the glass is packaged.” In brief, the phone’s manufacturer is partly responsible too.
The company’s internal research found that over 85% of smartphone owners have dropped their phones at least once per year and 55% have dropped their phones three times or more.
More than 60% of owners said they dropped their devices between shoulder and waist height.
Bayne added: “With many real-world drops occurring from between waist and shoulder height, we knew improving drop performance would be an important and necessary advancement.”