The new formula for the scratch resistant and toughened glass, put simply, makes it even tougher. The result is it allows screens to be either 20% thinner for the same strength or 20% stronger if kept at the same thickness. Corning fully expect the former scenario to be the more common one as the drive for ever thinner devices continues.
As well as allowing for devices to be made thinner overall, using a thinner screen should also increase light transmission for improved brightness, and touch sensitivity may also increase.
The exact science behind the advance is being kept secret but essentially the process of toughening glass involves bathing it in a solution that causes soda ions to be exchanged for potassium ions. These large ions cause a compression effect in the surface of the glass, making it stronger. The new Gorilla Glass has improved this process so that the potassium ions penetrate deeper, at a higher concentration.
Corning was all too happy to demonstrate the advantages of this new recipe. Here at CES the company was pitching 1.1mm of standard soda-lime glass against a 'typical' competing toughened glass, first generation Gorillas Glass and only 0.8mm of Gorilla Glass 2, testing their relative strengths by bashing and bending the living daylights out of them. Of course the Gorilla Glass 2 came out on top.
There's no official word yet on what devices will be using the new glass but Corning expects products using it to arrive before the year is out.