Corning launches Gorilla Glass DX and DX + for better phone cameras

At one point in 2019, call buyers began to simply accept ugly camera modules. The remarkably good photos taken by these cameras justified their bulbous three- or six-eyed designs. And in 2020, the much graver ailments of society have trumped the outrage over the stamp-sized camera bumps.

Where consumers have seen clunky camera modules, glassmaker Corning has seen opportunities. Corning, who today is best known for doing the Gorilla glasses which covers almost all high-end smartphones, noticed that the latest smartphone camera designs were more prone to scratches, both because of the enlarged area of ​​the lens modules and because of the way the goals go beyond phones. When enough scratches appear on a lens, the photo quality begins to suffer. Turns out there is a drink for it.

Corning today announced its latest composite: a new version of Gorilla Glass optimized for smartphone camera lenses. A version of the new composite, called Gorilla Glass DX and DX +, technically already exists; in July 2018, the company rolled out this product for use on smart watch faces, touting its “improved optical clarity, sunlight readability, exceptional toughness and scratch resistance.” But Corning had to reformulate DX and DX + composites for smartphones so that it could claim some level of scratch resistance. without compromising photo and video quality – in essence, maximizing optical clarity while selling durability.

“We’re seeing the demands for better light management starting to emerge in a few different device verticals,” says Scott Forester, Corning vice president of marketing and innovation for the Gorilla Glass division of the company. ‘company. “As smartphone camera systems get more and more sophisticated, all of those lenses and protrusion away from the camera have resulted in scratches. [Manufacturers] I said, “Well, I can’t use anti-reflective film there, so I just have to take care of what I have there today,” which is mostly glass. “

Forester goes on to describe how the properties of this composite make it more ideal for protective smartphone camera lenses. Typically, cover lenses have an anti-reflective coating, which reduces glare but only allows about 95% of the available light to reach the camera sensor. Corning claims that this new version of DX and DX + for smartphone lenses allows the camera to capture 98% of light while retaining the scratch resistance of standard Gorilla Glass. (He also claims that the DX + product comes close to the scratch-resistant qualities of sapphire crystal, a synthetic material known for its durability, transparency, and the cost it adds to gadgets.)

Video credit: Corning

Corning declined to share which specific phone models will soon ship with Gorilla Glass DX or DX +. And in keeping with its past behavior, Corning declined to comment on the nature of its partnership with Apple. He said Samsung would be the first customer to use Gorilla Glass DX for their smartphone lens covers. Samsung is expected to reveal at least five new products next month at its annual Unpacked summer event, which could include foldable phones as well as new wearable devices; it is likely that this will also be the official launch of this new Corning product, although Corning has not confirmed this.

Corning isn’t the only manufacturer looking to improve smartphone photos, however incremental they are, with technology designed to improve lenses rather than image sensors. WIRED’s Julian Chokkattu wrote earlier this year on a startup called Metalenz, which replaces the now common stack of multiple camera lenses with a single lens built on a tiny wafer of glass.

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