Earlier this month, Corning announced Gorilla Glass 6, a new iteration of the glass it makes for smartphone makers and other tech companies. Gorilla Glass 6's claim to fame is that it can survive 15 drops onto hard surfaces from 1 meter or higher without breaking. Now, Samsung is doing one better: it's revealed a new display panel (opens in new tab) that has been certified as unbreakable by the Underwriters Laboratories testing company.
Instead of using the glass found in most smartphone displays, Samsung "developed the flexible OLED panel with an unbreakable substrate and an overlay window securely adhered to it." Samsung Display's general manager of the communication team, Hojung Kim, said this fortified plastic window is similar to glass in terms of weight, transmissivity and hardness, so it should be able to replace glass without too much hassle.
Underwriters Laboratories helps develop standards for pretty much any industry you can imagine, and it also tests new products to make sure they meet those standards. Samsung noted in its announcement that Underwriters Laboratories is the official testing company for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The South Korean firm described the methodology it and Underwriters Laboratories used to determine the new panel's endurance:
"After a drop test administered at 1.2 meters (nearly 4 feet) above the ground 26 times in succession and accompanying high (71 degrees) and low (-32 degrees) temperature tests, the Samsung unbreakable panel continued to function normally with no damage to its front, sides or edges."
The panel "operated normally with no sign of damage" after a 1.8 meter drop test, too, though we don't know how many times it was dropped from that height. According to Samsung, that means this unbreakable panel is more durable than even the U.S. Department of Defense requires. We suspect that means it should be able to survive everyday use--and potentially the many at-home drop tests people will inevitably perform.
Samsung made this panel for smartphones, but the company said it might also find use for it in other devices, from tablets and portable game consoles, to military devices and vehicle display consoles. Meanwhile, Corning wants to put Gorilla Glass in seemingly every product--and many companies are happy to oblige because glass is in vogue. But this new unbreakable panel shows that Samsung isn't monkeying around.