One of the key technologies that made the mobile & tablet revolutions possible wasnt software or electronicsit was Cornings tough, nigh-unscratchable Gorilla Glass. Without this remarkable material, our phones and tablets would start showing scratches and wear very quickly, considering how frequently we all use them.
Now, Corning has announced a new product, Willow Glass that has similar potential to offer opportunities to tech companies that find the right ways to make the most of its unique properties.
[Willow Glass] will support thinner backplanes and color filters for both organic light emitting diodes (OLED) and liquid crystal displays (LCD) in high-performance, portable devices such as smartphones, tablets, and notebook computers. This new, ultra-slim flexible glass will also help develop conformable (curved) displays for immersive viewing or mounting on non-flat surfaces.
Corning Willow Glass is formulated to perform exceptionally well for electronic components such as touch sensors, as well as leveraging glasss natural hermetic properties as a seal for OLED displays and other moisture and oxygen-sensitive technologies.
Ill let you speculate on the kinds of devices and technologies that paper-thin, durable, flexible glass will enable. I will say, though, that the software companies that give users the most compelling, valuable and effective experiences with this new hardware will quickly become very temptingand valuabletargets for tech M&A.
Additionally, the mobile space overall is heading for yet another major transformation, driven by advances like Willow Glass, geospatial technology, enmeshed systems and M2M communication. Thats why someone, somewhere is poised to reap huge rewards by grabbing the enormous talent pool at RIM. The company has had its struggles, but a solid, deep technical team remains, with huge potential if pointed in an exciting new direction by an acquirer.
As Nat Burgess predicted last year, theres a good chance this acquirer will come out of South Korea, where Samsung, LG and SK each has the ingenuity and technical chops needed to reinvent RIM for the next generation of connected devices.