You might have heard the term Gorilla Glass being used in reference to smartphones. This is actually where this product got its break in the market and without the popularity of touchscreens it might still be shelved in one of Corning’s R&D departments.
Most of the major mobile device manufacturers are using Corning Gorilla Glass as part of their display screen due to its scratch-resistance and lightness. Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, LG, and HTC just to name a few have incorporated this type of glass in several of their devices.
This type of glass however preceded the smartphone by almost 50 years. It was first made by Corning in the 1960’s in what they called “Project Muscle” and was initially called Chemcor glass. This became its predecessor. During that time however there was no practical use for it. It was expensive and difficult to produce thus it was shelved. It was however used to replace the windshields in around 100 race cars during that time to reduce the overall weight
Fast forward to the year 2006 when Apple was looking for a material that will not scratch the very first iPhone. Steve Jobs contacted Corning regarding their glass which he wanted to use in the iPhone. Despite the hesitation of Corning to develop the glass to due manufacturing complexities they were able to pull it off. This is where its popularity started.
Today, the Gorilla Glass is becoming the bread and butter of Corning. Its revenue this year alone for the glass is expected to reach the US$1 billion mark. This revenue comes mostly from smartphones and tablets however the company is also branching out to other applications.
The company has also evolved their product and come up with Gorilla Glass 2 which they say is 20% thinner yet has the same damage resistant property. This makes it an attractive product to use now that mobile manufacturers are coming out with slim smartphones.
In the coming years we will see this product being used more commonly in television sets, automobiles, laptops, household appliances, architecture and just about anything that requires a glass.