Sapphire Shield Ready to Add Pride to Android Phone Makers

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By Kalyan Kumar | July 19, 2014 9:02 PM EST

Amidst rumours that Apple's iPhone will be flaunting a resilient and durable sapphire glass screen, a Japanese company, Kyocera, has come forward offering a super strong synthetic "Sapphire Shield."

REUTERS
Apple's iPhone (L) and Samsung Galaxy Note are displayed at a shop in Tokyo in this August 31, 2012, file photo.

According to a report published by Android Central, Kyocera claims its Sapphire Shield can offer many Android OEMs high quality synthetic sapphire glass for making their phone screens.

Mass-Produced Sapphire Glass a Possibility

The cost of manufacturing sapphire is too high. And with high demand coming from smartphone makers, the sapphire glass market will be all the more pricey.

However, Kyocera may have found a less expensive way to mass produce its synthetic sapphire glass, the Sapphire Shield. But according to Android Central, it is not clear yet how the company has achieved this and whether or not there will be enough quantities available to supply Android manufaturers like Samsung and Sony.

Gorilla Glass vs. Sapphire Glass

Corning made a name for itself with its Gorilla Glass used in smartphones. But for Kyocera, its Sapphire Shield may not be limited to smarphone use alone. Android Central suggests it could also find applications on wearables like smartwatches. Sapphire glass is currently being used in luxury watches and luxury phones as in Vertu's devices.

Meanwhile, according to a report in Digital Trends written by Simon Hill, when compared to Gorilla Glass, no scratching will have a visible effect on sapphire glass. It is also less likely to break than Gorilla Glass or Dragontrail. It is also claimed tobe the toughest material around, second only to diamond.

A supplier of sapphire glass, GT Advanced Technologies, also claims that sapphire glass is three times more durable than other similar materials. However, Corning was quick to dismiss this claim by pointing to potential problems of sapphire glass, the major one being that it would more likely shatter when dropped. The Gorilla Glass manufacturer even posted a Youtube video (below) about a test that highlighted the superiority of Gorilla Glass when it comes to handling pressure.

When it comes to display, sapphire glass has a blue tint due to chemical properties it naturally contains. On the other hand, synthetic sapphire is created in the lab sans chemicals that contribute to the colour. The result is a sapphire glass that is clear and suitable for making clear screens with LCD or AMOLED displays.

Break-Proof Saphire

A leaked video (below) shows sapphire glass being used in Apple's iPhone 6 and surviving all torture tests. It is shown as virtually break-proof and scratch-proof. Despite the hard twisting of the sapphire panel, it neither breaks nor shatters.

(Credit: YouTube/Kyocera Mobile)

(Credit: YouTube/吕华)

(Credit: YouTube/Marques Brownlee)

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(Photo: REUTERS / Kim Kyung-Hoon/Files)
Apple's iPhone (L) and Samsung Galaxy Note are displayed at a shop in Tokyo in this August 31, 2012, file photo.
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