It seems like smartphones can’t be released anymore without some kind of serious flaw popping up.
Nexus 6P owners are reporting that the glass panel covering the phone’s cameras are suddenly cracking, with one user reporting having left the device screen up on a table followed by a loud, spontaneous, “snap”. Picking up the device they found the glass cracked and a pile of glass shavings left on the table. Among two users who shared images, the damage looks remarkably similar…
While it’s not yet clear what might be causing this (and Google has yet to make a statement on the matter; we’ve reached out ourselves), a possible reason for this is how glass expands as it heats up and shrink as it cools. Placing the 6P on a colder surface (such as a granite or marble countertop) could cause the camera glass, otherwise being referred to as the phone’s “visor,” to cool down and shrink too quickly.
Normally glass has enormous compressive strength, but the tiniest flaw, scratch, or damage to the glass will become the point of origin for cracking. As such, the Gorrilla Glass 4 is made moot. Any piece of glass (including tempered ones) is only strong as long as it is not compromised.
This could be caused by the method they use to temper the glass. I’m by no means an expert, but the method used to temper Gorilla glass involves giving the glass ion baths to strengthen it. The strength comes at a cost though – due to the strong attraction of the glass particles to one another and compression of the whole, the glass develops lines of internal torque and stress, leading to explosive results if the glass is impacted or pressed from the wrong angle.
The last Nexus phone to suffer from a similar ailment is the wholly glass backed Nexus 4. In a later hardware revision, the device received tiny nubs on the corners of the phone in order to make sure the glass was not in direct contact with the surface below it.
Image via Mobiflip.
If this issue is widespread enough, Huawei and Google might make a similar hardware fix to address this issue. Then again, it has other hardware problems to fix as well.