Plenty of mobile device screens can easily resist minor cracks and scratches, but let's be honest -- those aren't the biggest problems. No, the real crisis comes when you drop your phone and the display shatters into many pieces. Thankfully, Corning is tackling that accident-related damage in earnest with Gorilla Glass 4. The newly formulated cover material is designed to survive collisions with rough surfaces, like the sidewalk. It's reportedly very effective, if imperfect. While conventional soda-lime glass will always break if you drop it from a meter (3.3 feet) above the ground, Gorilla Glass 4 will remain intact 80 percent of the time. You shouldn't be careless, in other words, but the added resistance could mean the difference between a costly out-of-warranty repair and carrying on with your day.
Corning says it's already sending out test samples and shipments for the new glass, so you should expect to see it soon. It's not naming customers, but many of the largest phone, PC and tablet builders already use Gorilla Glass, even if they don't always mention it by name. There's a good chance your next mobile gadget will be considerably better at surviving a faceplant -- hopefully, you'll never have to learn this the hard way.