Kyocera is in reportedly in late stages of development with sapphire crystal-covered smartphone displays, which could give its well-known rugged phones even more toughness in the future. According to a newly leaked Kyocera testing video on YouTube that's being corroborated by CNET, Kyocera is producing sapphire crystal display coverings in smartphone sizes and testing them up against traditional impact-resistant glass found in current smartphones.

Sapphire crystal, which is well-known as an incredibly high-strength covering for lenses, watches and other precise tools, is dramatically tougher than traditional glass (yes, even Gorilla Glass) but can be tricky and expensive to produce.

While rumblings have pointed to big players like Apple being the first to bring a mainstream smartphone to market with sapphire crystal covering the display, it looks as though Kyocera may be on the same path. Considering that Kyocera is already known for making rough-and-tumble devices that can stand up to just about anything, one of the only weak points left on its devices is the display. Sapphire crystal may not be in line with its typically budget-friendly phones, but it could prove to be the best shot it has at a truly indestructible device.

Source: CNET; Randy Katz (YouTube)


Reader comments

Kyocera testing sapphire crystal-covered displays for future phones


Not particularly. The market is going this way to find a replacement for things like gorilla glass. Sapphire crystal is already used in smaller applications, but advances have allowed for the larger panels that would be needed for a phone.

Regardless, the article is a bit wrong in its information. There haven't been 'rumblings' that Apple intends to do it; They ARE doing it. They have a plant that will produce enough sapphire coverings for every iPhone they'll sell in a fiscal year. The equipment has been purchased and the plant is running.

It would make a lot of sense of Kyocera to do it too, since their latest focus has been on rugged devices. The perfect application for sapphire.

Sure the plant is running, but nobody knows what exactly they're going to use the sapphire crystal for. Hence rumblings.

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How is it just rumblings when there's potential iPhone 6 screens in the wild being stress tested, that have come from a leaker with a very reliable history.

It's definitely in the 4.7 inch iPhone. There are YouTube videos about the sapphire screen. Check out MKBHD's video

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Given the quantity of production equipment they purchased, the ONLY thing they could use it for is screens. Unless they plan on selling 500 million touch id equipped phones next year.

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No. Apple is innovative. This is just copying something a process Apple has been developing for years now that the manufacturing facilities, R&D, etc have all been done by someone else. Typical Korean POS

It coudln't be that Kyocera was developing the processes at the same time Apple was. Nope, has to be something nefarious...

I wouldn't even go that far. Sapphire displays are not a new thing. Vertu uses them, for example.

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The funny part is apple patented this today. Here goes another court case where apple is sueing for something they shouldn't have received patent on.

No. Apple patented specific things related to sapphire displays, including ways to make the material stronger, using the material for things like buttons and rockers, and how to embed things into the material. They are all very specific to manufacturing, and are in no way patents on the concept of sapphire displays.

Not really. Apples patents are for the methods to produce some very specific things. The only way someone could infringe is if they literally copied apples production methods.

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What if future gives us screen protector like Amzer's shatter proof glass ..but made up of Sapphire Cryatal...

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Man I just installed a Tempered Glass Screen Protector on my G2 today.

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Apple will very likely heavily market the highly durable sapphire crystal display that will re-entice the multitudes of shattered and, as such, frustrated iPhone users and probably also will use the sapphire crystal display for their iWatch.

Breaking News: Apple had been using sapphire crystals for the iPhone 5S's home/fingerprint button for almost a year already.

There were rumors earlier in the year that said Apple was going to use sapphire crystals for the entire display.

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I have been waiting for sapphire crystal covered smartphone screens. It seems that Kyocera (and others in the works) have accomplished really spectacular durability. Sapphire is almost impossible to scratch (unless you use a diamond), though its biggest weakness was always how easy it was to crack or shatter. Now it seems they are using some sort of composite or laminated glass. This means they likely have a base layer of a softer but more impact resistant material with the sapphire layer bonded to the top. This could give the incredible scratch resistance of sapphire with the impact resistance of much softer mineral glass.

Yay for composites!

Kyocera is the next Lg. In few years they will have their own g3 taking on everyone. Oh yeah.

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So is sapphire indeed stronger than gorilla glass? I know corning has some in house tests in which their product wins out but I can't find any other literature on the subject

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Sapphire is *harder* than gorilla glass, that means won't scratch as easily, only diamond is harder than sapphire. However hardness isn't the same thing as strength.

It may be that gorilla glass is stronger than the sapphire glass Corning tested, but that doesn't mean someone hasn't developed a way to make it stronger while keeping the hardness.

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Sapphire glass will not scratch as easily as gorilla glass will. In its regular form it will break more easily in a smartphone screen size though because its hardness makes it more brittle. (Hence all the r&d apple and others have put in, to create a version of it that will not shatter easily)

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