Glass-Backed Smartphones | Mobile Consumer Electronics | Corning

February 2019 

As leading device manufacturers unveil their latest models, many are making a shift to incorporate more advanced glass into their designs, and not just on the front as a protective cover glass. One place where more glass is appearing is on the back of new mobile consumer electronic devices. This trend is particularly exciting because glass offers benefits that other materials, like plastic and metal, just can’t offer.

"We are not only benefiting from adoption of our premium glasses, but also from more glass on each phone,"  said Wendell P. Weeks, chairman, chief executive officer and president of Corning. "Glass back penetration on smartphones doubled from 15% in 2017 to 30% in 2018 and we expect continued growth in 2019." 

With glass on the back as well as the front, the newest smartphones are meeting aesthetic and design milestones, including more elegant form factors. But, they offer additional performance benefits. The superior physical and electromagnetic properties of glass make it particularly well-suited to enable new capabilities device makers are incorporating into their designs.

So what are the benefits of having an all-glass smartphone? 

1.   Improved Reception

Glass is ideal for the antenna performance of your phone, unlike aluminum and other materials. Metal materials like aluminum lack radio frequency (RF) transparency, meaning that the antenna embedded in your device has a harder time finding a signal. New all-glass phone designs mean more bars in more locations leading to faster data transmission.

2.   Better Wireless Charging

Today’s newest phones are moving to wireless charging, and for the same reasons listed above, metal can interfere with wireless charging technology. Glass, particularly thin, tough glass like Corning® Gorilla® Glass, is used as an alternative to metal on the back of phones so consumers get a faster charge without plugging in the device to a traditional charger. 

3.   New Levels of Customization

Since the backs of phones don’t have the same optical transparency requirements as the front display, glass can provide designers with new possibilities for customization. Corning’s  true-color glass ceramics -- or Vibrant Corning® Gorilla® Glass -- offers superior scratch resistance compared to plastic and unlocks a full palette of color options with premium quality photo realistic images.

As the popularity of all-glass devices increases, it becomes more important to have tough glass used to help protect devices from the drops, bumps, and scrapes of everyday life.

That's why Corning scientists have engineered tougher and more durable Corning® Gorilla® Glass 6. On average, it survived 15 consecutive drops from 1 meter onto rough surfaces and is up to 2x better than Gorilla® Glass 5. Under the same test conditions, competitive glass compositions didn’t even survive the first drop. Gorilla® Glass 6 also survives at higher heights than Gorilla® Glass 5. All good reasons to better ensure you’ll stay connected today, and all the days to come, with a device featuring tough, durable Corning® Gorilla® Glass 6.