Corning has infused ions of silver, a common antibacterial agent, directly into the chemically-strengthened glass. Corning says it can rebuff up to 99.9 percent of certain bacteria that are found in abundance on the phone screen. While it doesn't do away with finger smudges, it helps prevent germ build up on the glass surface. According to David Velasquez, Corning's director of marketing and commercial operations, the use of silver ions in glass "is no different than the many other ways that society goes after bacteria, anything from washing hands...to advanced ways of going after bacteria."
At the CES Corning Booth, the grime test conducted by them included a swab kit that measures the amount of particles and stuff on a screen. A regular Gorilla Glass-topped phone was compared with one with the antimicrobial screen. In reports made public, the former got a score of 173, compared to 169 of the latter. While the smudge is identical, almost, for both devices Corning points out that the "test" is shaky for a few reasons. First, the gunk-o-meter can't discern what's dirt and what's bacteria that can get people sick. Second, the antimicrobial screen takes about an hour to repel bacteria.
James R. Steiner, senior vice president and general manager, Corning Specialty Materials, spoke at the launch of the new cover glass, saying: "Corning's Antimicrobial Gorilla Glass inhibits the growth of algae, mould, mildew, fungi, and bacteria because of its built-in antimicrobial property, which is intrinsic to the glass and effective for the lifetime of a device. This innovation combines best-in-class antimicrobial function without compromising Gorilla Glass properties. Our specialty glass provides an excellent substrate for engineering antimicrobial and other functional attributes to help expand the capabilities of our Corning Gorilla Glass and address the needs of new markets."The big question to be asked is whether the antimicrobial glass really does matter. Not only that, but also the effectiveness of the glass still has to be proved conclusively. While it is a good beginning, there needs to be a lot of conclusive work done to prove the same. On the whole, it could be an interesting piece of technology that mobile and tablet users might incorporate in the future, akin to their tough Gorilla Glass, which already graces the screens of devices from across the mobile and tablet spectrum. Stay in touch with the latest from CES 2014, via our CES page.