Corning’s Gorilla Glass has been a common component of smartphones for a while now, and with flexible displays about to hit the market the company has announced development of flexible glass to protect the next generation of devices.
Don’t hold your breath though – Corning says this development process may still take a couple more years.
Unsurprisingly, the major challenge is to simultaneously get the glass to a tight bend radius (think Galaxy Fold, where the screen folds in on itself) while also enabling it to withstand drops or falls without breaking.
Currently, the foldable glass the company has under development can bend to a 3-5mm radius around 200,000 times – around the same hungry of times were seeing wired for flexible display bends – but cannot currently survive a serious drop.
The goal is to create glass that’s 0.1mm-thick and can bend to a 5mm radius without breaking. That’s a tall order, and might not even be tight enough.
The foldable phones thus far revealed use plastic bendable screens. They won’t be as good as the glass smartphone screens users are currently accustomed to, but the industry doesn’t seem inclined to sit around and wait.