Corning’s bendable Gorilla Glass glass could shape the foldable phones of the future

“Corning’s glass has been shielding gadgets for longer than any of us have been alive,” Vanessa Hand Orellana reports for CNET. “The company started out in the middle of the 19th century developing heat-resistant glass for lanterns and lightbulbs, moved on to TV tubes in the 20th century and now covers many of the phone screens we use on a daily basis. ”

“But to fit each mold, Corning’s glass has had to evolve almost as much as the technology it covers. It’s become heat-resistant, scratch-resistant and increasingly tough to shatter,” Orellana reports. “And it may soon shape the next generation of foldable displays by pushing the limits on how much glass can bend.”

“We took a trip to Corning’s headquarters in its eponymous hometown — Corning, New York — to find out what the makers of Gorilla Glass are cooking up next and what clues it can tell us about future devices,” Orellana reports. “‘To go to a tight bend radius, you have to go to a glass that’s much, much thinner than what you have today and some of the glass we have in our laboratory is thinner than a human hair,’ says Polly Chu, technology director at Corning. I was able to hold the glass in my hands, and I had a hard time believing it was a sheet of glass and not a piece of thin plastic.”

Check out many other cool types of glass and glass implementations that they’re working on at Corning – and see the photos – here.

MacDailyNews Take: Glass certainly has a bright future as it sounds like the headroom for innovation at Corning is very high indeed.

Don’t be afraid. You can do this.Steve Jobs to Corning CEO Wendell Weeks during the production of the original iPhone in 2007

We especially like the textured glass that looks and feels like wood and can hide icons when off. Imagine disappearing and reappearing controls in vehicles, TV remotes, and more!

Apple granted a second patent for a folding iPhone with flexible hinge – October 16, 2018
Apple gets 49 new U.S. patents including a foldable iPhone and an iPhone design invented by Steve Jobs – September 4, 2018
BoA Merrill Lynch: Apple is prepping a ‘foldable’ iPhone; U.S. and China trade tensions not an issue for Apple – March 23, 2018
Apple seeks patent for a foldable iPhone – November 28, 2017
Apple teams up with LG Display for foldable iPhone due to concerns over tech leaks to Samsung – October 11, 2017
Apple, LG Display discuss OLED display deal for 2019 – September 7, 2017
LG Display to supply OLED panels to Apple – July 31, 2017
Apple to invest $2.70 billion in LG Display’s OLED production – July 28, 2017
Apple and LG Display plan to derail Samsung’s OLED expansion plans – July 25, 2017
LG Display to invest $3.56 billion in flexible OLED plant – May 30, 2017
Apple patent details foldable iPhone – January 26, 2017
Apple granted U.S. patent for bendable or foldable iPhone using advanced carbon nanotube structures – November 1, 2016
Will the next-gen iPhone be a flip phone? Apple is granted another patent for new flexible handset design – November 22, 2016


  1. Corning should stick to cookware. We have been fed this fantasy that “glass” is strong and will not easily break. If so, then someone at Apple must be in the place where they test the glass and say “hey Fred, that last batch of phones did not break like they should, we better thin out the glass.” Time after time people get broken screens and then the cost to replace is astronomical. Perhaps clear polymers might be a better choice. The old flip phones were pretty good at resisting breakage. Maybe the fantasy of the glass-housed phone needs to come to an end. Of course there is the old adage, “those who live with a glass encased phone…”

    1. Most materials can bend to varying degrees. If you have been in a Cat 3 hurricane, then you know that even ordinary single-pane window glass can flex a bit without breaking. I have a picture window over my front door (roughly 5×7 feet) that was bulging inward during Hurricane Ike, but fortunately never broke.

      That said, material properties often compete against each other – hardness, toughness, flexibility, etc. Apple helped Corning to develop a market for “Gorilla” glass in the mid-2000s, and Corning has been trying to improve the material since then. I see people complaining about breakage, but it is not easy to make the ultimate transparent material for portable devices. Give the materials engineers a break and a little love for the progress that they have made collectively in many areas (e.g., high strength alloys for cars and airplanes, new plastics with superior properties, etc.)

      1. Yes, materials have a flex point but was not so sure about glass and take your picture window word.

        That said, this is not about love for improvements elsewhere. The topic is whether glass can be made thin as a human hair and not break. So I repeat, is this glass or another material? If glass, “fascinating.”…

  2. This article is odd to me. I don’t want a phone that bends and will inevitably have an electrical connection failure.

    I want a phone that has extremely long life which is inconspicuous and “Just Works” with Apple’s iOS.

    Surprisingly, my iPhone 5s does just that. I realize that newer and larger is attractive, but that means people are attempting to use the iPhone in place of a tablet/laptop. For me, laptops or tablets are far better than the new larger iPhones.

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