What is Gorilla Glass, and what makes it so special?

You might know that your smartphone is protected by Gorilla Glass. But how did Gorilla Glass come to be every phone's bodyguard?

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If this post does nothing else for you, you will have seen someone play Fruit Ninja using an actual knife. For all your worries about every possible scratch or dent on your phone, this guy is straight cutting his phone with a knife, making a mockery of your anxiety.

Alex Dumitru can cut his Galaxy SIII with confidence because it’s outfitted with Gorilla Glass 2, the latest scratch-proof glass from upstate New York glass maker Corning. Need more reassurance? Watch Engadget press 120 pounds onto Gorilla Glass 2 samples. That’s why Gorilla Glass is, according to Corning, in 20 percent of the world’s handsets. The name “Gorilla Glass” itself is such a strong trademark in the industry that Corning can take out ads in major publications (such as the back page of this past weekend’s New York Times Magazine) for the material, on the chance that some product manager will see and recognize the brand and think twice about their next product’s manufacturing specs.

Gorilla Glass and its sequel are perhaps the most prominent component of all the iPhones released so far. Gorilla Glass 2 is in HP’s new ElitePad Windows 8 tablet, in the new Kindle Fires, and in just about every new mobile device that cares about its user being confident in its strength. Yet our sum knowledge, from the consumer standpoint, comes down to this: it is tough, it is made somewhere near Rochester, NY, and ... hey, it’s really tough and cool stuff.

But let’s dig in an learn a bit more about Gorilla Glass, in appropriately mobile-sized chunks.

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