Jan 7th, 2014

Yesterday, Corning announced a new version of Gorilla Glass that is infused with antimicrobial solutions that will help keep your smartphone free of germs and bacteria. We were wondering how Corning would “demo” this technology at CES, so we just had to stop by their booth to check it out. It wouldn’t be right if our resident germaphobe Chris Chavez didn’t go along, so he and Rob Jackson trotted over there to check it out.

To put it simply, Corning used an industry-standard microbial test that is often used to check contamination levels of restaurants in health safety checks. They simply swabbed the phones’ displays with cotton swabs to gather up the bacteria and mixed it with a solution that can be read by a machine. The result?

Chris Chavez, who can’t touch as much as a doorknob without an immediate urge to wash his hands afterward, had a Nexus 5 that scored a 475, which is seen as moderate for a smartphone. We weren’t sure how that fared up against some of the other results, so Rob Jackson wanted to throw his Galaxy Note 3 down and see how it compared.

Interestingly enough, Rob’s phone came back as a 57, which apparently means it’s cleaner than most smartphones out there. That sort of discrepancy just goes to show that you can be as clean as soap and still be exposed to tons of germs.

I guess that’s the reason Corning found the need to develop something like this. The company claims that the glass’s antimicrobial properties will last for the duration of your smartphone’s life cycle. This is made possible thanks to the ionic silver used in the compound, an agent that allows the glass to be as clear and durable as other reinforced glass.

It’d be interesting to see follow-up tests on phones with this sort of glass after a few months of rigorous use. We’re not sure when to expect the first smartphones with this material, but we suspect it won’t take long for manufacturers to pick up on it and add yet another marketing bulletpoint for future devices. Be sure to take a look at the big germy showdown in the video above.

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