Smartphones Could Pack Sapphire Screens by End of the Year
March 21, 2013 6:02 PM
comment(s) - last by
(Source: Flawless Facets)
Sapphire would be three times as hard as Gorilla Glass
For centuries mankind has enjoyed brilliant blue sapphire gemstones. Now scientists have learned to grow transparent sapphires and could soon use the lab-made stones to form smartphone screens.
Sapphire is the world's second hardest material, and is tougher than even the strongest Gorilla Glass. Sapphire's crystalline structure is formed of a network of aluminum and oxygen atoms in a 2-to-3 ratio.
, it is suggested that screens of the hard synthetic crystal could soon hit the market, improving the rigidity (drop resistance) and screen integrity (scratch resistance) of smartphones. The report suggests that a sapphire screen would currently cost $30 USD/unit, versus $3 USD/unit for a Gorilla Glass screen.
That cost would make a sapphire screen to expensive for all but the most premium of flagship smartphones. It's clear why Corning Inc.'s (
) Gorilla Glass has dominated sales to date, selling over 1 billion units. However, given that sapphire is three times as hard as Gorilla Glass, the MIT Review report argues that some OEMs may feel compelled to make the switch.
Currently a few OEMs -- including Apple, Inc. (
) use smaller sheets of sapphire glass as a
cover to their smartphone camera lenses
Eric Virey, an analyst for the French market research firm
, said in an interview that the cost of sapphire screens could eventually drop to $20 USD/unit. He comments, "I'm convinced that some (manufacturers) will start testing the water and release some high-end smartphones using sapphire in 2013."
The current market leader is Corning's Gorilla Glass.
Corning spokesman Daniel Collins
to the report, saying he is not convinced that sapphire units will be able to cannibalize the market for his company's product, nor compromise its growth. He comments, "It is unclear to us if this could provide better overall performance than actual glass. There also are the questions about cost and product weight that must be addressed before sapphire would be a serious consideration for mass market applications."
The latest Gorilla Glass,
Gorilla Glass 3
, is twice as hard as its predecessor (
Gorilla Glass 2
GT Advanced Tech aims to supplement smartphone glass, not necessarily replace it.
[Image Source: GT Advanced Tech/ExtremeTech]
Ultimately the two technologies may coexist in some smartphones, though.
GT Advanced Technologies, Inc.
), a New Hampshire device startup, is aiming to produce a clear sapphire layer for smartphone and tablet that's as thick as a human hair (~0.1 mm), which would be added a strengthener/supplement to the currently used Gorilla Glass. Synthetic glass and sapphire may soon be vying for market dominance, but ultimately they may do their best work as a team.
CNN [Corning Response]
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: Star Trek come to life :)
3/21/2013 9:52:44 PM
Aluminum and oxygen mix sounds like aluminum oxide and it is natrally transparent. Chances are you have touched aluminum oxide and never aluminum. Thus us because aluminum oxidize quickily when exposed to air to form a thin natural protective aluminum oxide film on its surface.
As to why isn't aluminum oxide naturally scratch resistant, I have no idea.
RE: Star Trek come to life :)
3/22/2013 1:42:23 AM
Molecular geometries, the difference between graphite and diamond. Pretty crazy crazy stuff that "simple" atomic space orientation can have immense impact on material properties.
"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher
Quick Note: Corning Will Unveil Gorilla Glass 3 at CES
January 4, 2013, 9:50 AM
Apple Says "Purple Haze" is Normal Behavior for iPhone 5 Camera Images
October 2, 2012, 9:38 AM
CES 2012: Corning Announces Thinner Gorilla Glass 2
January 10, 2012, 11:45 AM
India Could Rock Google With Its Biggest Antitrust Fine Yet -- $5B USD
March 10, 2014, 8:12 PM
Apple Releases iOS 7.1, The First Major Update to Its "Rethought" Mobile OS
March 10, 2014, 1:52 PM
BlackBerry CEO Jokes that iPhone Users are "Wall Huggers"
March 10, 2014, 12:20 PM
Average Mobile Phone Bill in U.S. is Growing Despite Competition
March 10, 2014, 10:25 AM
Aussie Tried to Drop Drugs into a Prison Using an Aerial Drone
March 10, 2014, 9:32 AM
Quick Note: New Generation HTC One (M8) Photos Turn Up on Weibo
March 10, 2014, 9:04 AM
Most Popular Articles
Bitcoin King Pt. II: Mt. Gox's Dictator Karpelès Proves Tragically Flawed
March 7, 2014, 1:12 PM
Bitcoin King: Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpelès' History of Arrests, Firings
March 5, 2014, 9:05 AM
USAF Moves Forward With Long Range Bomber Program Despite Budget Crunch
March 4, 2014, 9:44 AM
Windows 8.1 Update 1 Leaked Early
March 7, 2014, 9:30 AM
Apple Won't Let UK Sons Unlock Their Deceased Mother's iPad
March 6, 2014, 12:44 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Tesla vs. BMW: Who Has the Safer EV?
Feb 1, 2014, 2:56 PM
Justice Leaks Details of Next HTC One Two Flagship Phone
Dec 5, 2013, 4:04 PM
Global Cyber Espionage Concerns Reveal Growing Cyber Armies
Nov 29, 2013, 11:04 AM
Is The Period Becoming an Expression of Anger?
Nov 26, 2013, 2:02 PM
NSA and Congress -- You Will Never Kill the Constitution, It's an Idea
Nov 10, 2013, 2:00 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information