Smartphone News

The Promise of the “Sapphire Display”

SapphireOne of the biggest complaints about most modern smartphones is that their screens are too fragile. Buyers are, quite simply, sick of dropping their expensive pocket computers on tile floors and having to deal with cracked or shattered glass screens for the remainder of their two-year contracts. Cases and phone wallets, like the ones offered on eHolster.com, help to curb the risk of damaging your device, but many users are ready for additional protection, preferably in the form of screens that don’t break so easily.

Introducing Sapphire Crystal

Such a leap forward in the smartphone device is apparently on the way in the form of what is called “sapphire crystal.” Supposedly, sapphire crystal is not quite as hard and tough as diamonds, but it is closer than just about anything else out there. If that is the case, then sapphire crystal could be ideal for making the kind of near-indestructible smartphone screen that just about everyone wants at this point. Unfortunately, there are a few drawbacks to using the material in consumer mobile devices.

Drawbacks for Using Sapphire Crystal?

The first issue, obviously, is the price. Anything with “sapphire” in its name is obviously going to be considerably more expensive than glass, and sapphire crystal would likely add significantly to the production costs of smartphones. Those additional costs would, in turn, probably lead to steeper smartphone costs for customers to shoulder. Of course, an extra few bucks—or an extra few hundred bucks, more likely—might be worth it to consumers as a sort of “insurance” that their phone will not become ugly or unusable if they accidentally drop it on hard surfaces. The question is whether or not all buyers would be willing to pay the premium price or if some would be willing to take their chances with a glass display in exchange for a cheaper rate.

The other problem with sapphire crystal is that it is an incredibly in-demand material, to the point where smartphone manufacturers might not be able to use it on mass-produced phones, simply because they will not be able to get their hands on enough of it. Just recently, Apple reportedly had to scrap plans to use sapphire glass on its iPhone 6, due completely to a lack of availability in time for the new iPhone’s supposed late-September release. (A later, phablet-sized version of the new iPhone could still feature a sapphire crystal display.)

Verizon’s Sapphire Glass Phone

Because Apple is missing the boat on using sapphire glass for this year’s main iPhone release, the company will not get the opportunity to become the first smartphone manufacturer to use the material. Instead, that inaugural title will fall instead to Verizon Wireless, which has officially announced that its upcoming “Kyocera Brigadier” smartphone will feature a durable, scratch-free sapphire glass display. The new phone is, unsurprisingly, designed for “rugged” use, and the 4.5-inch sapphire screen is a big part of that.

What is surprising is that, even in spite of the sapphire crystal display, the Kyocera Brigadier will not be more expensive than other phones on the market right now. With a Verizon contract, the phone will cost $99, and without a contract, the price tag will still only be $400.

Do you think sapphire glass is necessary, or do you think it is possible to keep a smartphone safe and unbroken with a regular glass screen? Share your thoughts in the replies!