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60-Year-Old Glass Technology Finds Its Market 197

Posted by kdawson
from the nine-hundred-pounds dept.
In the 1950s, Corning developed a glass product for which it has been trying to find a market ever since. What is now being called "Gorilla Glass" is currently worth $170M/yr. and is poised to quadruple (potentially) in the next year or two. Gorilla Glass is used on many smartphones including Motorola's Droid. ("Whether Apple Inc. uses the glass in its iPod is a much-discussed mystery since 'not all our customers allow us to say,' said [the] general manager of Corning's specialty materials division.") "Because Gorilla is very hard to break, dent or scratch, Corning is betting it will be the glass of choice as TV-set manufacturers dispense with protective rims or bezels for their sets, in search of an elegant look. Gorilla is two to three times stronger than chemically strengthened versions of ordinary soda-lime glass, even when just half as thick, company scientists say. Its strength also means Gorilla can be thinner than a dime, saving on weight and shipping costs. Corning is in talks with Asian manufacturers to bring Gorilla to the TV market in early 2011..." The Christian Science Monitor elaborates on the theme of job growth outside the US, as Corning plans to invest several hundred million dollars to retrofit an LCD plant in Shizuoka, Japan to manufacture the glass. The company will also expand the workforce in the Kentucky plant that now manufactures Gorilla Glass.
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60-Year-Old Glass Technology Finds Its Market

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  • Gorilla glass for devices that cause gorilla arm syndrome [wikimedia.org]. There must be a sarcastic tag somewhere in there.
  • by TamCaP (900777)
    I love the general manager's remark regarding some other invention: "We're not sure what we're going to do with it, but it's cool, isn't it?" This clearly shows that people in there truly enjoy their work :D And it also seems, they can at some point turn the coolness factor into profit.
    • by Ice Tiger (10883) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @09:18AM (#33122334)

      I don't know what's more amazing, the glass or the fact a modern company invests 10% of its revenue into R&D with the patience to wait tens of years until their is a market and then quickly capitalises on that.

      Might have to buy some stock!

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by that IT girl (864406)
        I thought this too. The ability to see long-term is so rare these days! I hope it pays off big time for them (and I'm pretty sure it will).
      • by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy&gmail,com> on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @11:11AM (#33123936) Journal

        Corning is a good company. And they're known for their long view: they came up with the first commercial 20 dB/km fibre optics too, back in the '70s.

      • by Grishnakh (216268)

        I'm surprised they actually remembered that they had made the stuff. These days, at most tech companies, they'll come up with some new technology or whatever, but if it doesn't go anywhere pretty quick, all the materials associated with it are lost as people retire or change jobs, and their cubicles are cleaned out. When the cubicles are cleaned out, everything those people worked on is gone, forever, because the company doesn't actually store the product of their work anywhere centralized.

      • Just because many big companies have crap management, does not mean they all do.

        The ones with the good management (not just at the top, but all the way through) are the ones that will still be big in 50 years time.

        As for the others, that is why creative destruction is such an important part of capitalism.

  • 60 years? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SpinningCone (1278698) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @08:25AM (#33121784)

    you would think that there would be plenty of applications for a super strong thin glass. i'm guessing it's prohibitively expensive to use compared to other products. either that or corning needs a better marketing team.

    the picture of the guy bending a small sheet in the article link is pretty cool.

    • Re:60 years? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @08:37AM (#33121876) Journal
      I'm not at all surprised that it hasn't show up in consumer electronics until quite recently, since LCDs were cost prohibitive until pretty recently, and touchscreens were not that big a deal(you can find examples going back at least to the 70's; but they weren't exactly mass-market items). Thin glass would have been counterproductive for CRTs, since, when your product basically involves pointing a small linear accelerator at the user's face, you want an adequate amount of leaded glass between it and them.

      I am surprised, though, that corning never managed to sell any serious quantity as a structural material. Glass-coated skyscrapers have been considered quite stylish for decades, and I'd imagine that "resists birdstrike, rocks, wind forces, and idiots leaning against the windows just as well as ordinary glass, at 20% the weight" would be a selling point.
      • by Thanshin (1188877) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @08:52AM (#33122042)

        I am surprised, though, that corning never managed to sell any serious quantity as a structural material. Glass-coated skyscrapers have been considered quite stylish for decades, and I'd imagine that "resists birdstrike, rocks, wind forces, and idiots leaning against the windows just as well as ordinary glass, at 20% the weight" would be a selling point.

        Maybe the manufacturing process grows exponentially beyond a certain, very small, size; making it only useful for the tiniest of skyscrapers, where highly paid squirrels take important decisions from their very high offices with Central Park views.

        There are not as many of such clients as you might think.

      • by dbIII (701233)
        There are a variety of specialised glass types used in skyscrapers and new types of glass are developed every few years with different additives to provide different properties. Some work well, others expand and contract too much, pop out, fall twenty floors and scare the shit out of anyone nearby.
        • by jimicus (737525)

          Some work well, others expand and contract too much, pop out, fall twenty floors and scare the shit out of anyone nearby.

          If you're lucky.

          • by ArsonSmith (13997)

            I think he meant "scare the shit out of anyone nearby the person getting smashed by half a ton of glass." but he hit the submit button too quickly.

            • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

              by Anonymous Coward

              He had to, he saw a 1/2-ton piece of glass falli

        • by CuriHP (741480)

          I see we have someone from Boston.

      • Re:60 years? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by quacking duck (607555) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @10:25AM (#33123144)

        I am surprised, though, that corning never managed to sell any serious quantity as a structural material. Glass-coated skyscrapers have been considered quite stylish for decades, and I'd imagine that "resists birdstrike, rocks, wind forces, and idiots leaning against the windows just as well as ordinary glass, at 20% the weight" would be a selling point.

        Not to mention, if this had been around back in '86 Scotty could've used sheets of this to build the tank for those humpback whales; instead he had to reveal the formula for transparent aluminum in exchange for sheets of heavy, 6"-thick plexiglass!

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Joce640k (829181)

      They needed to wait 60 years to measure the exact flow rate of this glass - you wouldn't want the bottom of your TV screen to go all wavy after a couple of years.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Thanshin (1188877)

        To avoid possible whooshings... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass#Behavior_of_antique_glass [wikipedia.org]

        • by dbIII (701233) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @09:55AM (#33122802)
          That bit is bullshit and should be removed - here's where the misconception comes from:

          Lead pipe organ pipes flow over time and get thicker at the bottom, the reason being the weight providing stress and the temperature being close enough to the melting point that the stuff can flow - just like hot glass bends only a lot slower. It's called creep and it only really happens in simple pure materials when you are at least 2/3 of the way to the melting point of the material from absolute zero. Mix other stuff in and that pushes it to higher temperatures.
          People heard about the lead pipes without understanding, saw that old windows were thicker and the bottom and thought that the glass must flow as well. The real answer is that until modern times it was very hard to make flat glass and that it was a common glaziers practice to put the thicker and stronger side of the glass at the bottom.
          The melting point of glass is too high for there to be much movement over a mere thousand years at room temperature let alone two hundred years.
          • by Reziac (43301) *

            Explain the mirror in my old trailer, then:

            The trailer was made in 1961. Presumably all its glass was of about the same vintage.

            There is a large mirror in the bathroom door. Due to where one of the main windows is placed and how the trailer was set up, for some years the afternoon sun hit on the bottom half of that mirror.

            When I got the trailer in 1974, the mirror was still accurate. No distortion. By the time the trailer was retired from service in 1997, the mirror was almost as bad as a funhouse mirror --

      • thats a myth. while its true that glass 'flows' it does not flow fast enough to 'go wavy' the wavy glass you see in old houses and such was wavy the day it was made.

        quick primer on sheet glass:
        the way we make large panes of sheet glass now is usually to float molten glass on a bead of molten tin (which has a lower melting point than glass) this allows the glass to slowly cool in a controlled environment and be perfectly flat.
        the way we *used* to make sheet glass was to place a large gob of molten gla
    • by natehoy (1608657) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @08:53AM (#33122046) Journal

      Obviously they did find a market for it, albeit a small one, since there's a plant in Kentucky that manufactures it. I think the point is that the market for it is about to expand significantly.

      Why didn't cell phone makers use it before? Simple - regular chemically-enhanced soda-lime glass is cheaper, and manufacturers used bezels to protect the edges, so it worked fine. The cost of LCDs was already high, so I doubt manufacturers felt much need to add sexy by dropping the bezel, given that many people were impressed enough with the concept of it being flat and lightweight compared to their CRT. And the cell market has, until recently, been mostly comprised of low-end feature phones that cell carriers can give away for free. Now people tend to want smart phones, and they have to look good, and they'll drop hundreds of dollars AND commit to a 3-year contract to get the latest shiny. So a few extra bucks to make 'em a little shinier will move more units, more quickly.

      Now everyone wants to go exposed-edge because bezels are apparently now the work of the devil (his other name is Bezelbub, dont'cha know), I heard it from Pope Steve so it must be true! So it's worth spending the extra on Gorilla Glass so they don't have users complaining that their cell phones shatter when gripped and cause shards of glass to fly out of the remains of the screen and slice their jugulars wide open, which might interrupt their call when the conductive blood touches the antenna. If you think sweaty hands are bad, wait until you see the signal drop from blood-covered hands.

    • by Gilmoure (18428)

      Could also be production techniques have finally matured to where it's not prohibitively expensive. Was reading last week how Los Alamos lab has figured out a production process that makes it much cheaper and easier to manufacture kilometer+ lengths of super conducting cable.

    • when it finally does break, the blast radius and the radioctivity are quite impressive.
  • by mlts (1038732) * on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @08:27AM (#33121792)

    It is rare these days to see companies devote 10% of their budget to R&D. Most tend to just not bother with R&D because it doesn't give ROI this quarter, and when they do, they gain the technology by buying a startup, or just copying someone else's work and improving on it.

    60 year old glass? Most enterprises can't even think past the next couple quarters or to the next FY, much less this far. Almost any other company would have long since chucked the manufacturing process for it because it wasn't immediately profitable.

    • by Midnight's Shadow (1517137) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @08:37AM (#33121884)

      Very true. It is good to see a company that plans for the long term and I applaud their R&D spending and holding onto something because it might be useful in the future. However I have to ask, if this process and glass is 60 years old shouldn't the patent have run out quite a while ago? Shouldn't we have been seeing this before now in uses that Corning couldn't think of?

      • by SirGarlon (845873)

        However I have to ask, if this process and glass is 60 years old shouldn't the patent have run out quite a while ago?

        Yes. Maybe it's not patented: it could be a trade secret instead (like the formula for Coca-Cola).

        Shouldn't we have been seeing this before now in uses that Corning couldn't think of?

        Not if it's a trade secret. But even if it was patented and the patent expired, there's no guarantee anyone else would want to pick it up and start manufacturing it. It could have easily been overlooked be

        • by Shotgun (30919)

          even if it was patented and the patent expired, there's no guarantee anyone else would want to pick it up and start manufacturing it. It could have easily been overlooked because the original patent holder didn't make any money off it (until now).

          And even if all the information was leafletted at your local mall, there is still the issue of if anyone has the industrial resources to produce it. Just because you know how to do something doesn't mean you can do it in a profitable manner in and industrial scale. For instance, producing high-grade silicon wafers is theoretically simple 8*)

    • I like the "we know how to make this, we have the technology and expertise, and we're going to build a plant so that we can sell it to our customers" approach.

    • It is rare these days to see companies devote 10% of their budget to R&D. Most tend to just not bother with R&D because it doesn't give ROI this quarter, and when they do, they gain the technology by buying a startup, or just copying someone else's work and improving on it.

      Isn't that an argument for patents, though? I mean, you're saying that R&D isn't profitable in the eyes of most companies and why is that? I mean, we complain about patents but then if you look at the amount of innovation going on in countries where intellectual property is not enforced it seems to be fractions of what goes on in countries that enforce IP law. I'm not arguing for this but your complaint that not enough companies dump 10% into R&D seems, in my mind, to be heavily linked to the lack of reward. I thought patents and licensing those patents were supposed to be that reward or recoup mechanism.

      60 year old glass? Most enterprises can't even think past the next couple quarters or to the next FY, much less this far. Almost any other company would have long since chucked the manufacturing process for it because it wasn't immediately profitable.

      Well, from the article, it sounds as though they had pretty much shelved it and "In 2006, when demand surfaced for a cell phone cover glass, Corning dug out Chemcor from its database, tweaked it for manufacturing in LCD tanks, and renamed it Gorilla." Again, if you think about it, a patent is good for only ~20 years? So maybe when they 'tweaked' it they did that so they also could repatent it? They have a lot of patents related to glass composition [uspto.gov].

      Can their competitors just fire up a plant right now and start making Chemcor? You bet. Gorilla is probably repatented though to protect them from that and that illustrates why you don't see a whole lot of companies taking the Corning path.

      • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @08:53AM (#33122048)
        If it's been around for 60 years, any patents on it would have expired long ago, unless they've been keeping it "trade secret" all this time; and, given the amount of information in TFA, that doesn't seem likely. Personally, I'm wondering why other companies aren't competing on this (yet).
        • by Zerth (26112)

          While "really hard glass of a certain composition and manufacture" is no longer under patent, I wouldn't be surprised if Corning recently patented "... made into screens for devices nobody had 60 years ago".

          Hell, it worked for everybody using "... but on the internet".

        • The NRE is massive. We're not talking about some kind of dinky software patent, where, once it's been thought up, it can be easily replicated. They have to be able to work up and mass produce huge quantities of glass, and there aren't many companies world wide who have that sort of capabilities.

        • It was not patented. As such, the manufacturing will not go to China, but to Japan (who will then take it to China). Personally, Corning has earned my disdain. At this time, I will quit buying from Corning.
      • by mcvos (645701)

        Isn't that an argument for patents, though?

        Possibly, but most people here are only against stupid, trivial patents, patents for ideas, software, business models and genes, and patents for stuff that's already covered by copyright. If there's anything that deserves to be patentable, I'd say this is it.

      • by TheLink (130905)
        Sounds more like an argument against the current patent system.

        If you allow patents to last 60 years (whether explicitly or by small tweaks) so that the innovative people decades ahead of their time[1] get rewarded, you would reward far more patent trolls for longer. The trolls would be collecting tolls and taxes on obvious crap for 60 years. I suggest that would slow the pace of innovation down even more.

        Hindsight is better than foresight, so perhaps instead of getting overworked patent examiners to decide
      • I think many fewer people are anti-patent than are anti -"Stupid obvious overbroad software" patent or anti-"add useless stuff to a medicine so you can repatent it " patent.

        Also, patents, unlike copyright, still expire, which is the whole point of having them to begin with. The whole concept of patents is to get information in the public domain, so you don't have the problem of, for example, an entire civilization forgetting how to make its best steel.

      • Isn't that an argument for patents, though?

        No, it's an argument for encouraging research and sharing. As you point out, the patent system is a recoup mechanism. What you didn't say was that the mechanism has failed us in many ways. The patent system is fundamentally broken, so much so that I think we should try something else. Some software is so poorly written, so flawed, that it is best to start over rather than try to fix it. So it is with the patent system.

        We've seen that the patent system lends itself to gaming, abuse, and lengthy and de

    • But if this technology is now 60 years old, one would assume it is out of patent. How long before (if not already) every manufacturer is capable of making it? If it becomes profitable, then Pyrex and Co will be shipping it out at lower cost than Corning.

      • by arth1 (260657) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @08:56AM (#33122084) Homepage Journal

        But if this technology is now 60 years old, one would assume it is out of patent. How long before (if not already) every manufacturer is capable of making it? If it becomes profitable, then Pyrex and Co will be shipping it out at lower cost than Corning.

        Er, Pyrex is a Corning brand...

        • My Bad :( But surely there are other glass companies out there who'll try to swipe up this tech if it's profitable?

          My question, I suppose, is what are the rules on patenting a process like this? If you have Coke and Pepsi, how different do the 2 products have to be? Can one completely copy the other (special secret recipes aside)? It shouldn't be too hard for an industrious material scientist to figure out the process and duplicate it.

          Do Corning have to worry about a competitor making gorilla glass?

          • by Reziac (43301) *

            Probably because the startup costs on glass manufacturing are pretty high, same as with any high-temperature processing. Ever notice that most ceramic toilets only come from very few sources? Same reason. It's not like no one else knows how to make toilets or ceramics, or like there's no market. It's just not a great place to jump into and make instant profits, or even reasonably quick profits. Corning already has the facility, so it's practical for them.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Deosyne (92713)

            Funny that you mentioned Pyrex. Corning patented Pyrex in 1915 (#1304623). So far as I can tell, there hasn't been another one issued for Pyrex, yet Corning seems to be doing just fine despite ~80 years of imitators and competition.

    • This was developed 60 years ago. I don't know but would expect that if you were pitching a project to Dow management today you'd need a faster time to market.
    • by alen (225700)

      why spend money on R&D that may not pay off? what's the difference between that and spending the cash on a start up with an interesting product with an ROI? a lot of R&D has been transferred to the universities in the last 10 years where they license it out to the corporations.

      there is no good reason why corporations should do R&D rather than universities. corporate R&D projects will be managed by the same MBA's who can't seem to find anything innovative, while a few guys in a garage are alw

  • by mary_will_grow (466638) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @08:42AM (#33121926)

    ("Whether Apple Inc. uses the glass in its iPod is a much-discussed mystery since 'not all our customers allow us to say,' said [the] general manager of Corning's specialty materials division.")

    Does Apple use the glass? I can't tell you. Because when they started using it they told us we couldn't tell anyone.

    muahahah

  • by durnurd (967847) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @08:47AM (#33121980) Homepage

    How has nobody commented on the transparent-aluminum-like properties of this so-called "glass"?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Speare (84249)

      How has nobody commented on the transparent-aluminum-like properties of this so-called "glass"?

      If you really wanted to polish your geek cred, you'd know that transparent aluminum exists, not just on Star Trek. Read the 2009 Science Daily article. [sciencedaily.com] But when I saw this, I thought of the Harrison Ford version of the movie, "Sabrina." As a CEO, in one scene he demonstrates a tough new material to some Japanese investors by taking a crowbar to the front of a large flat panel television.

      • by Chris Burke (6130)

        If you really wanted to polish your geek cred, you'd know that transparent aluminum exists

        Transparent to extreme ultraviolet is not what Scotty meant by "transparent".

        Still it's an awesome material science achievement. I just think "transparent aluminum" should be reserved for a material we can use as a space ship view port. Not a thing we could use as a space ship get-skin-cancer-without-realizing-it port. ;)

  • If it was invented in 1962 the patents will have expired. What's to stop the Chinese just making their own "PandaGlass" or whatever?
    • If it was invented in 1962 the patents will have expired. What's to stop the Chinese just making their own "PandaGlass" or whatever?

      Pandas aren't strong like gorillas. They're cute and cuddly. Who wants to cuddle with a chunk of glass?

    • by alen (225700)

      the original patents may have expired but i bet the current product is slightly modified and has new patents to protect it. sure you can make it as Corning made it in 1962 but i bet it won't look as good or have the same properties as the current product

    • by makomk (752139)

      Absolutely nothing. Supposedly, the glass in the new iPhone is made by a Chinese company that's done just that...

    • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @10:16AM (#33123032) Homepage

      That age-old technology known as "trade secrets", which protected artisans for thousands of years before IP came into existence.

      Of course, there is a downside: it means no one but Corning knows the process for creating this stuff, and so no one can improve upon it, apply the same techniques to related fields, etc.

    • I'm sure PandaGlass will work as well as all those PandaCaps [wikipedia.org].
  • by bsDaemon (87307) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @08:50AM (#33122012)

    since when is 1962 in the 50s? rounding error?

  • They stopped making the original Corning glass/ceramics because people wouldn't buy new often enough. Buy it once and keep it forever. So they released a new and more fragile product. Will this be the same story?
    • Thank-you!

      I've been trying to work out why this story was bugging me so much. Works like this...

      Why do people dispose of laptops and cell phones, etc.? Because the screen breaks? Or because the technology ages, the batteries stop holding a charge, scratches and finger prints show up, all of which, while not preventing the actual chips and hardware from working as designed, nonetheless cause a perception of the device as having worn out?

      Basically, to make the next generation of desirable products, (thinne

      • by LWATCDR (28044)

        "Or because the technology ages, the batteries stop holding a charge, scratches and finger prints show up, all of which, while not preventing the actual chips and hardware from working as designed, nonetheless cause a perception of the device as having worn out?"
        True but people tend to keep TVs for a good long while.
        Notebooks get slow but TVs can be good for decades.

        • Notebooks get slow but TVs can be good for decades.

          Yes, but indestructible glass won't alter the time frame in which TVs are replaced. It is already true that people don't get rid of old televisions because of worn out glass.

          -FL

          • by LWATCDR (28044)

            If they break they do. And it is more likley that one of the new flat screens will break than an older tube tv. Plus you get to save money on shipping costs if you can make the glass thinner. And people do break the screens on their phones and have to get new ones.

  • The article says it was invented in 1962. Surely the patent has expired by now?
  • by drumcat (1659893)
    Slashdot, when you said "turn off ads," I didn't think you were prankin' me...
  • by quatin (1589389) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @10:06AM (#33122912)

    Maybe it's just their name, but anytime I see the "Christian Science Monitor" publish anything relating to science, I have to find a second source to verify they're not making it up.

    • by JSBiff (87824)

      Whenever I hear the name "Christian Science", I think of the old Mike Meyers/SNL "Coffee Talk" skits. . .

      I'm getting verklempt. I'll give you a topic. . .
      Christian Science is neither Christian, or Science. Discuss amongst yourselves.

    • by Grishnakh (216268) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @04:01PM (#33129240)

      CSM is really weird. It's actually a very good source of journalism, but it comes from a religion that basically ignores modern medicine and believes in healing through prayer alone.

  • Strong thin glass is nice. But so is anti-reflective glass. Apparently, some CRTs are better in this way than almost all LCDs:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathode_ray_tube#Superior_Anti-Glare_coatings [wikipedia.org]

    You'd honestly think there'd be more of a market for antiglare coats.

  • Just how is this "gorilla glass" any different from somewhat common borosilicate glass (Pyrex and other TMs)?

    Borosilicate is very nice stuff. Is "gorilla glass" just another tradename?

  • Wait a fucking minute here... so they have had technology to keep glass from breaking - windows, drinking glasses, eye glasses for 48 years and are just NOW deciding it would be a good thing?

    Great line from the article...
    "In his office lobby, Steiner showed off a 400-foot-long spool of flexible, 16-inch-wide glass that's as thin as a sheet of paper.

    "Kind of like Chemcor was back in the '60s," he said. "We're not sure what we're going to do with it, but it's cool, isn't it?"

    • Wait a fucking minute here... so they have had technology to keep glass from breaking - windows, drinking glasses, eye glasses for 48 years and are just NOW deciding it would be a good thing?

      You're absolutely right, assuming of course that this glass is as easy and cheap to manufacture as regular glass... which it isn't.

  • So basically they have a product. It's 60 years old so the patents have long since expired. The minute you move it to Asia you invite cut rate knock-offs. The only thing going for them is Japan is a bit more civilized. Cost of living is pretty high. So much that KY is likely cheaper wages.

    • by RoboRay (735839)

      It's 60 years old so the patents have long since expired. The minute you move it to Asia you invite cut rate knock-offs.

      Do you honestly think the Chinese care about waiting for American patents to expire before making knock-offs?

  • The Christian Science Monitor elaborates on the theme of job growth outside the US, as Corning plans to invest several hundred million dollars to retrofit an LCD plant in Shizuoka, Japan to manufacture the glass. The company will also expand the workforce in the Kentucky plant that now manufactures Gorilla Glass.

    Outsourcing to first world, industrialized countries should never be confused with outsourcing to third world countries. The former has many benefits, including socially, commercially, and politically. The later serves only to drive down labor rates while destroying collective knowledge.

    Outsourcing to Japan, second only to outsourcing to your own country. Outsourcing to India, bad. They are not comparable in the least.

    • by Reziac (43301) *

      If it show how demented this has become, not long ago I saw where some American business official was talking about "outsourcing to American plants" for some sort of sweatshop-level manufacturing. I forget the context but it sure does point up where the jobs went. :(

  • by Mr_Silver (213637)

    "Whether Apple Inc. uses the glass in its iPod is a much-discussed mystery since 'not all our customers allow us to say,' said [the] general manager of Corning's specialty materials division."

    On the basis that I've seen an iPhone 4 get dropped onto a kitchen tile from a height of about 3ft and the back glass shatter like a spiders web, I'd have to say no, they don't use it.

    Either that or they do and it isn't as great as everyone makes it out to be.

  • Tough glass (Score:4, Informative)

    by Animats (122034) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @12:17PM (#33125030) Homepage

    There are several tougher variations on glass. Borosilicate glass (once called "Pyrex", but the name has been sold and "Pyrex" today is not necessarily borosilicate) is tough and very tolerant of temperature stresses. There are various laminates of plastics and glass. A common combination is a thin layer of glass, for scratch resistance, on top of polycarbonate. That won't shatter; it dents or punctures if hit hard enough.

    Cell phones should be using sapphire coated glass. Then you can put the thing in your pocket without a cover and not worry about it being scratched. The scanner glass at supermarkets [seamarkinternational.com] is often sapphire coated, so it can handle years of canned goods being dragged across the scanner. Versace has shipped a "luxury cell phone" [engadget.com] with this feature.

    There's also a diamond-coated glass [diamonex.com] for that application. Diamond coating is much cheaper than sapphire, but not quite as scratch-resistant.

  • by Qubit (100461) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @12:32PM (#33125260) Homepage Journal

    Gorilla is two to three times stronger than chemically strengthened versions of ordinary soda-lime glass, even when just half as thick, company scientists say.

    So to put that in simpler terms, Gorilla glass is 4 to 6 times stronger than regular glass, at any given thickness.

    Why didn't they just say that in the first place?

    • by TeknoHog (164938)

      Gorilla is two to three times stronger than chemically strengthened versions of ordinary soda-lime glass, even when just half as thick, company scientists say.

      So to put that in simpler terms, Gorilla glass is 4 to 6 times stronger than regular glass, at any given thickness.

      Why didn't they just say that in the first place?

      Probably because it is not that simple. For example, bending resistance is proportional to the third power of thickness.

  • by Pseudonymus Bosch (3479) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @03:55PM (#33129142) Homepage

    Yevgeny Zamyatin's "We" [wikipedia.org]:

    We is set in the future. D-503 lives in the One State,[3] an urban nation constructed almost entirely of glass, which allows the secret police/spies to inform on and supervise the public more easily. The structure of the state is analogous to the prison design concept developed by Jeremy Bentham commonly referred to as the Panopticon.

"There is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress." -- Mark Twain

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