Gorilla Glass 3 is tough. I mean, with a name like that, it's got to be tough enough to withstand the force of three gorillas. Or it's made by three gorillas. Or something. Semantics aside, it's certainly tougher than a similarly sized piece of aluminium, as I got to see here at Mobile World Congress.
First shown at CES earlier this year, Gorilla Glass 3 is based on a completely new glass composition than iterations past, with durability enhancements developed at the atomic structural level. With what Corning calls "Native Damage Resistance," Gorilla Glass 3 provides more scratch resistance, reduced scratch visibility, and better retained strength once a scratch occurs. Basically, this glass is tough as nails.
To prove just how durable the new glass is, Corning set up quite the demonstration. The contraption it rigged up looks sort of like a hamster cage exercise accessory. What it does, however, is provide a number of angles from which a steel ball can be dropped against a Gorilla Glass test square on the other end. On the first go-round, Corning dropped a 135g steel ball at a 10 degree angle against a piece of Gorilla Glass 3, and then against a competing screen glass currently on the market. The Gorilla Glass 3 made it through with nary a scratch, while the competing glass suffered from a shattered web of spider cracks.
On the next test, Corning upped the ante by raising the drop angle up to 30 degrees, and swapping in a piece of aluminium for the glass that cracked the first time around. The Gorilla Glass maintained yet again, while the aluminium suffered a very visible dent.
Finally, a piece of Gorilla Glass was placed in a force gauge, which delivered just over 45kg of pressure, and it was no worse for the wear.
Gorilla Glass 3 design implementation is in the works as you read this, and the first devices to feature it are expected to appear mid-year. We're looking forward to the day that glass gets tough enough to render bulky phone cases obsolete.