There was some major hype around the newly dubbed ‘Sapphire’ glass for phone screens last year, as rumors that the iPhone 6 may have included the scratch resistant covering over its screen. The costly and hard to manufacture material didn’t make it onto the new Apple handset, but the material did manage to grace the screen of the much coveted Moto 360 smartwatch.
Sapphire’s main competitor is Gorilla Glass, an equally tough method of covering phone screens that is manufactured by Corning Glas Technologies. Recently Gorilla Glass saw it’s fourth version appear on the scene, but apparently according to Corning a next generation, scratch proof and super tough glass is coming from the company in direct opposition to Sapphire.
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Project Phire, as it’s known, is another version of Gorilla Glass specifically deigned to be both scratch resistant and as tough as a Gorilla. Whilst the crystal method used with Sapphire might be a bit more resistant than the final version of Phire, the glass itself has been designed to be much more impact resistant than it is scratch resistant.
Of course, the main pain in the neck with phone screens is their tendency to shatter on impact. it’s absolutely the worst thing that can happen, an entire phone can be rendered useless if the touch screen glass shatters – you just can’t do anything with it without replacing the screen.
Project Phire is supposedly going to attempt to deal with this pet peeve, showing off the glass being bent under a foot to almost 90 degrees, with no damage seen in the preview. However, scratches still are a problem for phone users, as sales of screen protection film are on the rise. Phire’s bend could also be attractive to phone makers looking to capitalize on an flourishing new trend of curved screens.
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Minor scratches can often mess up a good display, so hopefully Phire’s impact resistance will also be combined with a decent resistance to these troublesome scars on your phone’s display. This competition with Sapphire might just see Phire being the material of choice for smartphone. Sapphire’s scratch resistance comes at a cost, the material is prone to shattering and lacking flexibility.
Whilst Sapphire hasn’t been seen on many devices so far, Gorilla Glass has already seen its share of usage throughout phone manufacture. Corning could very well ship Phire to manufacturers who have previously used their product. As far as we know, Project Phire is set to ship to some manufacturers later on in 2015.