Gorilla Glass 6 is here to withstand your clumsy hands

A bit of good news for the perpetually clumsy. Corning unveiled the latest version of its ubiquitous smartphone-encasing material today at an event in California. Gorilla Glass 6 is, naturally, designed to be more durable than its predecessor, introduced roughly this time two years ago.

The big takeaways here are the ability to withstand drops from higher heights and, perhaps even more importantly to most users, multiple drops per device.

“On average, in lab tests, Gorilla Glass 6 survived 15 drops from 1 meter onto rough surfaces, and is up to two times better than Gorilla Glass 5,” according to a release from Corning. “Under the same test conditions, competitive glass compositions, such as soda lime and aluminosilicate, did not survive the first drop.

As many recent flagships (the iPhone included) embrace wireless charging, glass backs are becoming a fairly common occurence in the smartphone world. As such, many manufacturers are embracing Gorilla Glass on both sides of the handsets — effectively covering ~85-percent of the devices’ surfaces in glass. That naturally makes the whole thing more vulnerable.

On many of these handsets, we’re seeing manufacturers embrace different generations of Gorilla Glass on opposite sides. Sometimes it’s over price concerns, but in many cases, different numbers have different strengths — some manage drops better, others are more scratch resistant. The scratch resistant apparently is about the same as its predecessor.

Compromises, it seems, have to be made. It will be interesting to see how ubiquitous Gorilla Glass 6 becomes — and how quickly.

Corning is making the material available to manufacturers now. It should take a few months to start arriving in handsets.