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Engineers working to make sapphire a viable material for smartphone screens

Published Mar 20th, 2013 6:55PM EDT
Sapphire Smartphone Screens

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The word “sapphire” typically conjures up images of luxury gems, but it could soon be associated with high-end smartphone displays as well. Technology Review reports that engineers at New Hampshire-based GT Advanced Technologies are working on ways to make sapphire a practical alternative to Corning’s ever-popular Gorilla Glass as a building material for smartphone screens. While Technology Review concedes that sapphire screens will likely remain much more expensive than Gorilla Glass screens going forward, the publication points out that sapphire screens would be roughly three times more durable and resistant to scratching than Corning’s displays. The key will be to get sapphire display costs down to around $20 per unit, which would still represent a major premium compared to a typical $3 Gorilla Glass screen, but would at least make the material viable for a limited number of high-end smartphones.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.