Corning Glass on Friday unveiled their new “Project Phire” material, which it says combines the strength of its existing Gorilla Glass, while offering the scratch-resistance of sapphire.
CNET reports that the new composite material was shown off at an investor meeting by Corning Glass president James Clappin. He said the company plans to start selling the material later this year, though he provided few other details.
“We told you last year that sapphire was great for scratch performance but didn’t fare well when dropped,” Clappin, president of Corning Glass Technologies, told the crowd at the event. “So, we created a product that offers the same superior damage resistance and drop performance of Gorilla Glass 4 with scratch resistance that approaches sapphire.”
Corning’s Gorilla Glass product is used by a number of smartphone and tablet manufacturers to protect the screens of their devices from scratches and other types of damages. Apple and Samsung are the best known customers of the company.
As of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Apple was reportedly planning a move away from Gorilla Glass over to a sapphire glass material to be manufactured by partner GT Advanced Technologies. However, GTA was unable to produce sufficient quantities of the glass at an acceptable level of quality. This lead to a dissolution of the partnership between the two companies, and later resulted in bankruptcy proceedings for GT Advanced.
Corning claims Gorilla Glass is a superior alternative to sapphire glass, due to sapphire’s tendency to shatter when dropped onto a hard surface. Corning says Gorilla Glass offers numerous benefits over sapphire, including cost, weight, and strength.