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Tech Talk

Gorilla Glass is set to flex


Christmas may be three weeks in our rearview mirror, but for tech nerds the world over, January’s Consumer Electronics Show is the real reason for celebrating. For years this annual mega-conference has been the venue for companies to release the latest and greatest tech innovations. In recent years, CES saw the unveiling of 3D TVs, eye-controlled computers, futuristic concept cars and much more. This year, it seems, curved flexible glass smartphones are the most buzzed about gadget.

As powerful as smartphones are, few treat these miniature computers with the respect they deserve. They’re tossed in purses, sat on while in back pockets, their screens are mashed up against keys and loose change, and most likely one in three of you reading this have suffered the arrhythmia-inducing cracked screen. Until now the only defense against our reckless behavior was hard plastic cases and thin screen covers. Flexible phones are the answer to our clumsiness and tech abuse.

Nearly every smartphone on the market uses a substance known as Gorilla Glass for its screen. Fourteen times stronger than normal glass, it’s scratch resistant, extremely thin and responsive to touch — but not perfect. Gorilla Glass can withstand precarious drops, but face-plant your phone on a rock or rough sidewalk, and it will easily splinter. With recent advances, that’s all about to change. Phones like the Samsung Round and the LG G Flex are equipped with a new generation of Gorilla Glass that can bend up to 75 degrees without splintering. This means phones can withstand being sat on as well as minor drops without breaking. Even a great force like being wedged in a door won’t break the screen.

While Gorilla Glass will not stand up to rocks or forceful slams on countertop edges, it is a major upgrade over older phones that can’t take a fall onto hardwood floors. It may not be a full-fledged cure, but flexible phones are an upgrade worth noticing. Especially since, rumor has it, the next step is a phone that can be rolled up like a towel and drank through like a straw. CV                

Patrick Boberg is a central Iowa creative media specialist. For more tech insights, follow him on Twitter @PatBoBomb.

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