Gorilla Glass may be the biggest name in smartphone glass, but it may soon be one-upped...by its own maker, no less.
Meet Project Phire, Corning’s attempt to produce a new material for smartphone and tablet screens that, according to Cnet, “combines the toughness of Gorilla with a scratch-resistance that comes close to sapphire.” According to the report, the new material’s drop-resistance will be equivalent to that of Gorilla Glass 4, which Corning introduced in November.
The story behind the story: Sapphire does a very good job at withstanding scratches—it’s why Apple uses it for the camera lens cover on the iPhone and will use it for some models of the upcoming Apple Watch. Corning has previously claimed that sapphire is more brittle than Gorilla Glass, and that Gorilla Glass is thinner and lighter than sapphire equivalents.
Apple has invested a considerable amount of money into sapphire production, going so far as to team up up with sapphire producer GT Advanced Technology to build a sapphire production plant in Arizona. However, the two companies ended their partnership last fall, and GT Advanced filed for bankruptcy soon thereafter.
According to Cnet, Corning plans to have its new material ready to go later this year. Although sapphire has suffered some setbacks, it’s still moving forward, so it remains to be seen which material will protect your next smartphone’s screen.