When Apple was poised to skip Corning’s famed Gorilla Glass scratch resistant technology for sapphire glass for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, there must have been quite a bit of panic in that camp. It was a good thing then, that the promise of sapphire glass was in vain, and Corning still has its market share. But it may just have learned a lesson from that scare – because now the company is promising sapphire-like levels of scratch resistance with its upcoming product.
The beauty of sapphire glass – apart for being (sounding?) luxurious – is that it has high levels of resistance to scratches, possibly higher than Corning’s current baby, the Gorilla Glass 3. That is why most luxury watch brands tend to use sapphire glass. But it has been industry knowledge that sapphire glass has the tendency to easily shatter when dropped – not a good thing for mobile devices.
And so in Corning’s quarterly meeting with its investors, Corning let it slip that it might have an answer to the need for both scratch resistance and damage resistance. Tentatively named “Project Phire”, the goal will be to produce “the same superior damage resistance and drop performance of Gorilla Glass 4 with scratch resistance that approaches sapphire” – this according to James Clappin, president of Corning Glass Technologies.
So it sounds like Corning wants to solidify its market share and make sure it has all bases covered. Corning Gorilla Glass 4 is already an option for most flagship devices that will come out this year. But maybe Corning would like to address those who want more and are turning to sapphire glass for options – Project Phire would seem like the answer to that.