Can Gorilla Glass give laptops a lift?

Can Gorilla Glass give laptops a lift?

Summary: Corning launched its Gorilla Glass NBT, which is designed for touch notebooks. Corning could do well, but needs Windows 8 to fuel an upgrade cycle.


Corning launched Gorilla Glass NBT on Monday in an effort to ride a potential touch laptop upgrade cycle, but the biggest wild card remains the reception to Windows 8.


In a statement, Corning said Gorilla Glass NBT will be included in touch notebooks and amount to 1 percent to 2 percent of the total cost of a system. Corning is obviously trying to replicate its smartphone and tablet success with Gorilla Glass.

The perks with Gorilla Glass on a laptop go like this:

  • Scratch resistant. 
  • Stronger screens that can stand up to some abuse. 
  • Better customer satisfaction since scratched screens are a pain. 
  • New potential designs that utilize Gorilla Glass to deliver sleeker notebooks.

Corning said its research shows that complaint rates for scratched screens on notebooks are four times higher than other mobile devices. Overall, Gorilla Glass NBT will be included on several notebook designs, but the biggest wild card will be PC sales overall.

Yes, touch laptops are nice. Yes, Windows 8.1 may boost sales. And yes, tech buyers are forgoing PCs for tablets. Gorilla Glass NBT is a welcome addition to the PC landscape, but it won't be enough to drive sales, which so far have been anemic.

Nevertheless, analysts are expecting the Gorilla Glass NBT reception to be helpful to sales. Morgan Stanley analyst Elud Gelblum said in a research note Monday that Corning's specialty materials unit, which houses Gorilla Glass, should get "get a material boost from touch notebooks running Windows 8 and new smartphone model launches."

Gelblum expects Gorilla Glass to deliver sales of $1.37 billion in 2013, up 31 percent from 2012, and $1.54 billion in 2014. Gelblum said in a May research note:

2013 is a pivotal year for the cover glass market, as touch notebooks take off on the back of the Windows 8 ramp, sustaining the strong growth Gorilla enjoyed in 2012, and much higher than the 10% y/y revenue growth we have been modeling for this year until now. Indeed, we model touch notebooks driving 45% of the incremental demand for cover glass in 2013 vs. 28% for smartphones and 27% for tablets.

Topics: Laptops, Hardware, PCs, Windows 8

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  • It's an ergonomic issue.

    Touch is stupid on a vertical surface. Which is why people have used desks or tables to write for centuries. You know, to make the thing you are touching more comfortable to reach.
    • Wake up, it is 2013

      That is such an old an untrue argument. I might have believed you if I didn't own a Lenovo Helix. Touch is great on a laptop. You should get out once and a while and try something new. I find it very useful at times to reach out and touch the screen, particularly when scrolling and zooming, etc. it is really, really nice. Don't let other people tell you how to live your life. If you want to touch your screen and have it respond, go for it. It really is nice.
      • huh?

        are you saying that it is faster to reach for the screen and use your fingers than to do the same with a flick of a fingers?
        • Yes quite obviously it is. It's about as far from the keyboard as the

          trackpad and instead of having to drag the pointer from where it is to where you want to act you just touch there. I do it routinely as it's more time efficient. That doesn't even count the hybrid scenario when the keyboard is flipped out of site or completely disconnected.
          Johnny Vegas
        • Touch on a laptop works really well

          I wouldn't have thought so, but now that I have a touchscreen ultrabook, I can't imagine ever going back.
          x I'm tc
    • RE: It's an...

      I don't understand why they waiting to see if Windows 8 will make a big gain, Touch screen labtops would be beneficial for Windows 7 labtop users, heck even the Windows XP or Vista's that are out there could benefit from it since ALL those versions of windows can utilize touch screens.
    • Some people may disagree

      "Touch is stupid on a vertical surface."
      • Re: Some people may disagree

        This is no touch, pal.
    • Don't think so

      I used a touch screen laptop for years (Windows 7) and loved it. I was sad when I needed to replace it, but HP stopped selling them.
  • I've never scratched a laptop screen...

    ... Like ever. If you're scratching up a laptop screen, especially the excellent glass on the MacBook Pro, you're doing it wrong.
  • Even if corning only gets their glass on 1% of new W8 devices thats still a

    huge sales win for them. Even if W8 doesn't grow.
    Johnny Vegas
  • Gorilla Glass, Somehow Apt For "Gorilla Arm" Devices

    Touch only works for screens you can lay flat or hold in one hand. Try using it on a laptop screen for any length of time and see how tired you get. Nobody is buying touchscreen laptops for this reason.
  • Windows driving new sales

    Windows as such has never, ever driven new computer sales. If someone claimed this, we should look at their motives doing so.

    New computers with these screens might only sell if they provide some feature not available otherwise. This is not touch -- touch is available without Gorilla Glass.
    Alternatively, Corning might convince large PC manufacturer to bundle the glass with their products... thinking about this, it's probably only Apple who has single notebook model that sells in large quantities, but.. the Air has already had an product refresh without Gorilla glass and the Pro is much smaller market.