LAS VEGAS -- Corning Inc. (IW 1000/523), which played a key role in the smartphone revolution with its robust "Gorilla Glass," is looking beyond the small screen with an upgraded version which promises to be even tougher.
The company, which rose to prominence in the consumer tech world with the display panels for the first iPhones in 2007, unveiled its thinner, stronger, Gorilla Glass 3 at the International CES this week.
"We changed it at the atomic level to give it more resistance," said Corning's Jon Pesansky, between demonstrations of the new product at the giant Las Vegas tech fair.
While component makers generally garner little attention, the once-sleepy New York state firm which started as a cookware maker, has risen to prominence as a sought-after maker of smartphone screens.
Pesansky said Gorilla Glass has been used one over one billion products worldwide since its launch.
The company gained notoriety when Apple's late chief Steve Jobs persuaded Corning to set up a new manufacturing facility to ensure enough capacity for the iPhone launch in 2007.
Corning now supplies most of the smartphone makers including Samsung, Nokia and HTC, and is also featured on many tablets including the iPad.
But the third generation of the glass, which is 20% thinner and 40% more scratch resistant according to Corning, is suited to larger displays including touchscreen computers and interactive TVs.
"Windows 8 opens up a lot more possibilities," Pesansky said, pointing to a Dell convertible laptop and a 55-inch TV using the glass
"We're proud of a product which has this survivability and more toughness in display."
For large screens, Gorilla Glass won't hinder the high pixel density of today's most innovative, high-performance displays," said David Loeber, who heads the division for large cover glass at Corning.
"Furthermore, Corning Gorilla Glass enables a remarkably thin design so our customers benefit from a lighter device, leading to transportation, mounting, and installation costs savings."
The company, which shed its CorningWare cooking operations years ago, is also developing a flexible glass product called Willow Glass for electronics firms. But that is a different animal.
"It's not for the same type of displays," Pesansky said, "It's more for underlying levels of glass or LED televisions."
-Rob Lever, AFP
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013