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The odds your smartphone will survive a fall just got a whole lot better

shattered iphone screen
Jeff Turner
A little less of this, ok?
By Zach Wener-Fligner

2014-15 Fellow. Quartz Things team.

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Although smartphones do many things well, their screens are highly vulnerable. The technological asymmetry is absurd: phones can stream high-quality video from a moving vehicle, but can’t handle a fall from the height of a coffee table.

That could be about to change, thanks to US-based materials manufacturer Corning, which Thursday announced the coming release of Gorilla Glass 4.

Gorilla Glass screens are on 3 billion devices, including phones from Apple, HTC, Motorola, Nokia, and Samsung. Gorilla Glass 4 claims to be a big step forward, with Corning focusing on preventing the cracks that result from the sharp, focused impact of falls.

It’s not perfect: in a test that involved dropping devices from a height of one meter on a rough surface, Gorilla Glass 4 survived 80% of the time. That’s a whole lot better than the generic soda-lime glass screens, which broke nearly 100% of the time.

That’s a glass four-fifth’s full… or one-fifth empty.

Feature image from Flickr user Jeff Turner under a Creative Commons commercial license. Image was cropped for this article.

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