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Sapphire glass is nearly three times tougher than Gorilla Glass, might be on future smartphones

Posted: , by Victor H.

Sapphire glass is nearly three times tougher than Gorilla Glass, might be on future smartphones
The Samsung Galaxy S 4 was just unveiled as the first phone coming with Corning’s new Gorilla Glass 3, and as tough as Gorilla Glass is, in the near future we might have much tougher glass on our devices. That will be sapphire glass, a type of glass that already has its use in the military for transparent armor, and that might soon arrive to smartphones.

A type aluminum oxide, sapphire is transparent and nearly three times tougher and more scratch resistant than current glass. It is actually so tough it’s comparable to diamonds. However unlike diamonds, it is much cheaper. This ruggedness and relatively affordable price make it a good candidate for the future superphones. The only hurdle? It is not yet affordable enough.

While Gorilla Glass could cost around $3 apiece, the same sized slab of sapphire might run phone makers up to $30.

There is a lot of savings to come though as competition in the space heats up and mass production would also significantly lower its costs.

We’re sure Corning will also not be resting idle while other companies try to make the case for sapphire. The end result though will surely be tougher and more scratch resistant glass in our smartphones.

source: Technology ReviewExtreme Tech

44 Comments
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posted on 21 Mar 2013, 07:26 2

1. StreetNerd (Posts: 699; Member since: 08 Dec 2010)


ok cool

posted on 21 Mar 2013, 11:33 1

28. troutsy (Posts: 213; Member since: 17 Feb 2012)


This whole article and all of its comments are just a big troll on anyone who knows the difference between scratch resistance and fracture toughness.

Sapphire crystal weighs a ton compared to glass, and it STILL won't help if you drop it.

posted on 21 Mar 2013, 15:20 2

34. Penny (Posts: 991; Member since: 04 Feb 2011)


Sapphire crystal tends to be heavier in application because to take full advantage of its properties, you need a thicker layer of it (3 mm or so). That being said, if you take full advantage of it, it will definitely help you if you drop it. According to a quick Wikipedia search, Sapphire crystal is the next hardest natural mineral after diamonds. It's so tough that they use it in bulletproof glass of armored vehicles, body armor, etc.

posted on 21 Mar 2013, 18:50

37. jcarrigan (unregistered)


Although Sapphire glass is amazing and would drastically improve the druability of the displays on phones, I am torn on this because I fully believe that ppl should be able to purchase a high end device with a 2 yr agreement for only $200.....not $500 because it has sapphire glass on it.

posted on 21 Mar 2013, 07:26 1

2. rustyimtiaz (Posts: 44; Member since: 16 Oct 2012)


Hope the next Nexus phone will use it!!!

posted on 21 Mar 2013, 07:57 5

9. _Bone_ (Posts: 2068; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)


Yeah sure, it barely breaks even with manufacturing and shipping costs yet they'll use a 10 times more expensive cover?

posted on 21 Mar 2013, 07:27 9

3. jade272727 (Posts: 62; Member since: 10 Dec 2011)


If you want a phone with Sapphire Glass, just add $30 more!

posted on 21 Mar 2013, 07:38 16

5. asulect (Posts: 130; Member since: 27 Aug 2012)


adding $30 to a phone's bill of material will actually add about $100 to final cost to consumers.

posted on 21 Mar 2013, 07:44 27

7. TROLL (banned) (Posts: 4851; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)


And Apple will charge you $100 more.
®

posted on 21 Mar 2013, 07:49 2

8. PointMaza (Posts: 60; Member since: 14 Dec 2012)


trooolololololoooool..

posted on 21 Mar 2013, 08:31 3

14. jade272727 (Posts: 62; Member since: 10 Dec 2011)


But if you want an iPhone with Sapphire Glass, add $100 more!

posted on 22 Mar 2013, 00:55 3

40. bayusuputra (Posts: 941; Member since: 12 Feb 2012)


No, add $300. They are very good with marketing, as well as marking up prices.

posted on 21 Mar 2013, 07:28 6

4. xperiaDROID (limited) (Posts: 4852; Member since: 08 Mar 2013)


Hope the Motorola X will have this on it.

posted on 21 Mar 2013, 07:42 5

6. TROLL (banned) (Posts: 4851; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)


It's nothing new!
Nokias 8800 Arte series have them also there Vertu brand are equipped with them.
®

posted on 21 Mar 2013, 08:03 2

10. feres13 (Posts: 295; Member since: 23 Dec 2011)


Is it the same thing that's covering the iPhone 5's lens? I heard them talking in the conference about a Sapphire cover lens

posted on 21 Mar 2013, 08:48 4

15. feres13 (Posts: 295; Member since: 23 Dec 2011)


http://www.imore.com/iphone-5-camera-updated-feature-sapphire-crystal-and-beter-low-light-handling

posted on 21 Mar 2013, 23:37

39. vincelongman (Posts: 643; Member since: 10 Feb 2013)


The Vertu Signature S from 2007 had a sapphire screen, I don't know if there was one before that, but since then there have been many phones by Vertu with sapphire screens.

posted on 21 Mar 2013, 08:13 6

11. palmguy (Posts: 156; Member since: 22 Mar 2011)


He's alive! He was shot in the shirt pocket. His smart phone was in it. :)

posted on 21 Mar 2013, 08:28 8

12. Captain_Doug (Posts: 736; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)


$30? If it does its job well enough, absolutely.

posted on 21 Mar 2013, 08:30 3

13. TROLL (banned) (Posts: 4851; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)


Wgat about Dragontrail glass?

posted on 21 Mar 2013, 09:09

17. DHILLON_ARSH (Posts: 66; Member since: 11 Mar 2013)


WHAT'S THAT...???

posted on 21 Mar 2013, 08:51 4

16. SuperNexus (Posts: 111; Member since: 18 Jan 2013)


ok..... So,we get tougher glass that's totally cool. (Scratch Problem solved)

But what about battery most irretating problem...why I am not seeing any phone with 4000mAh+ battery.

When the hell battery problem is going to be solved. This area really need improvement.

posted on 21 Mar 2013, 09:10

20. DHILLON_ARSH (Posts: 66; Member since: 11 Mar 2013)


AGREED

posted on 21 Mar 2013, 14:01

31. Zero0 (Posts: 561; Member since: 05 Jul 2012)


Soon.

If I recall correctly, a breakthrough in graphene batteries should come pretty soon. Those will be really, really good.

A lot is going into battery research. Part of that is for huge batteries to make solar/wind power more practical, and the other is for mobile.

posted on 21 Mar 2013, 09:09

18. siluro (Posts: 46; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)


Looks like it's very thick too, how well will it work when it's as thin as Gorilla Glass. Otherwise screen sensitivity will take a bit of a hit.

posted on 21 Mar 2013, 09:09 5

19. AamirSIII (banned) (Posts: 187; Member since: 04 Oct 2012)


this is all bulls**t crap! Gorilla Glass was "supposed" withstand high pressures and scratch resistant and blah blah blah... but it didn't do any of this thing! i my self got a crack on screen of my Galaxy S3 when it dropped just from bed height... these things are just gimmicks and nothing but! i insist these huge companies to work on narrowing the bezels and making phones look and work better rather than deceiving people by these gimmicks...

posted on 21 Mar 2013, 09:25 1

21. eliasafram7 (Posts: 83; Member since: 18 Mar 2013)


are u sure????? my samsung galaxy note 1 was dropped from the kitchen table height on its face and nothing happened to the screen

posted on 21 Mar 2013, 09:40

22. taikucing (unregistered)


My motorola xoom has a microscopic scratch on the surface of gorilla glass.. It can be seen clearly when the display is turned off. I have never dropped my xoom. Initially I thought it was just a dirt. But after cleaning the glass, the scratch still exists.. I don't know why there is a scratch on its glass. Perhaps my nail caused it. Yeah eventhough it's just a very thin & short scratch, but it's very annoying

posted on 21 Mar 2013, 10:05

24. OpTiMuS_BlAcK (Posts: 411; Member since: 04 May 2012)


My phone(which has been dropped plenty of times front-first) is on GG1 and it's still pretty clean. Scratches are only visible with strong lighting. Is it just me or is GG2 worse than GG1?

posted on 21 Mar 2013, 10:55 1

26. blazee (Posts: 240; Member since: 02 Jan 2012)


Its scratch resistant not scratch proof. No1 ever claimed that gorilla glass will save your phone from all damages smh. If your phone was made out of regular glass that screen would have shattered

posted on 21 Mar 2013, 09:44

23. cdgoin (Posts: 355; Member since: 28 Jul 2010)


I'm willing to bet HTC or Nokia get it first.

posted on 21 Mar 2013, 11:13

27. howardbarrett (Posts: 45; Member since: 11 Jan 2013)


My bet is on Apple or Motorola.

posted on 21 Mar 2013, 10:15 3

25. nak1017 (Posts: 328; Member since: 08 Jan 2010)


FYI, this is the same stuff using watches

posted on 21 Mar 2013, 15:14

33. Penny (Posts: 991; Member since: 04 Feb 2011)


Yep. My first thought was that all of my watches use Sapphire Crystal, and they can take a beating without getting scratched or cracked.

posted on 21 Mar 2013, 13:57

29. dgreekstallion (Posts: 14; Member since: 16 Nov 2012)


What would be awesome if one could just buy this and replace the existing glass on their phone with it.

posted on 21 Mar 2013, 13:58

30. Zero0 (Posts: 561; Member since: 05 Jul 2012)


The price difference is big, but it might be worth it after it comes down a tiny bit. Think about it. What phone/tablet part breaks most often? Probably the screen. A screen that's three times stronger is one third as likely to be replaced.

It's hurts margins, but I could see a strong marketing campaign around a screen like this. "Three times stronger than the -INSERT COMPETITOR-."

posted on 21 Mar 2013, 15:01

32. MartianMe (unregistered)


oh snap it looks like gorilla glass got some competition.

posted on 21 Mar 2013, 16:58

35. NE_BE (Posts: 18; Member since: 21 Mar 2013)


Sapphire is also used in certain high end watches.
Either way if that sapphire ends up with a coating that scratches easily there's not much of a point :/

posted on 21 Mar 2013, 20:31

38. ddeath (Posts: 153; Member since: 14 Apr 2012)


Is this even supposed to be news? Sapphire glass has been in existence for the longest of time. In the company I worked in, we used it for certain production applications, but changed it with a replacement many years back due to the high cost. Phone manufacturers don't use it simply because it is expensive and adds to the production cost.

posted on 22 Mar 2013, 04:52

41. JC557 (Posts: 707; Member since: 07 Dec 2011)


I have to mil-spec watches, one using sapphire glass, the other a special mil-spec Gorilla Glass. Both hold up great under extreme abuse so at this point I don't think I would have a preference when it comes to phone application. Sapphire will add to the cost of a phone though, a bit more than mil-spec Gorilla Glass.

posted on 22 Mar 2013, 05:58

42. jackhammeR (Posts: 1548; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


I've got a watch with sapphire glass (Nite MX 50) and it's not scratchproof. It is hard but not totally scratchproof, even though I've cared of it (it also depends on the thickness of sapphire and I bet they gonna use the cheapest ones).

posted on 22 Mar 2013, 11:13

43. Bluesky02 (Posts: 1439; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)


Ah that's something interesting to look forward for

posted on 24 Mar 2013, 05:18

44. ubuntu (Posts: 40; Member since: 11 Jan 2013)


too expensive

posted on 02 Nov 2013, 00:41

45. dansun (Posts: 1; Member since: 02 Nov 2013)


in my experience gorilla 3 glass don't get scratched as easily as gorilla 2 but breaks just as often. As for sapphire glass perhaps they are not commonly used just yet, but I didn't have to replace one yet.

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