Many smartphone manufacturers may introduce smartphones with glass rear in 2017. To start with, HTC has already announced its U-series smartphones with glass back.
Several reports suggest that Apple is planning to ditch the metal design casing and will feature a glass rear on the iPhone 8 models. Similar reports are doing rounds for Samsung, Nokia and a few other flagship smartphones too.
According to John Bayne, Vice President & General Manager, Corning Gorilla Glass the trend has picked up and many companies would introduce smartphones with rear glass design in 2017."We are seeing a trend towards more glass on the back devices. Companies have started doing away with metal and are focusing on glass rear," Bayne says.
However, there are some reasons for growing preference towards glass backs in smartphones. As Bayne points out, metal backs are very poor for radio frequency and even wireless charging.
"We have seen people moving away from metal a little bit, but what options does it leave one with? Plastic, which isn't very elegant and has got that plastic feel. Plus with wireless charging the phone heats up and doesn't do well with plastic," Bayne says.
"We are sensing in general, people are more interested in glass and glass ceramic, close cousin of glass which me make. Which is RF transparent, great for wireless charging and one can do great designs with textures on it. And with Gorilla Glass 5, it's more robust and takes away the concern of having glass at the rear. I would be surprised, if we didn't see more models, independent of the brand, which will have glass at the back," he adds.
Corning, the manufacturer of Gorilla Glass, is a preferred glass for smartphone protection. Gorilla Glass has been used not only in smartphones but is being on wearables as well. Samsung's Gear 3 smartwatch is protected with Gorilla Glass.
Corning has worked closely with not only the leading players such as Apple and Samsung but has provided Gorilla Glass to Indian OMEs, too, in the past. The company is now working with Micromax to deliver Gorilla Glass for the Indian handset manufacturer's new Vdeo series of smartphones that will be focused for the 'value-segment' consumers.
Bayne believes that it is important to have a good glass protection in this price category, else consumers will have to spend a huge sum of money in getting the phone's screen replaced.