Sapphire Stories January 14, 2015

Oppo launches sapphire glass backed, ultra-thin smartphone

Chinese handset maker Oppo on Wednesday officially launched its R1C smartphone in China for ¥2499 (around $400). The handset has an ultra-thin 6.85mm design backed by sapphire glass, making it one of the thinnest smartphones with 4X optical zoom ever. The R1C will be available for purchase through the Oppo website beginning January 20 at 10:00 AM local time in China.

Oppo’s hardware specifications include a 5-inch 720p display, Qualcomm 1.5GHz Snapdragon 615 64-bit octa-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB internal storage with up to 128GB of expandable storage, 2,420 mAh battery, 4G LTE connectivity with dual SIM card slots, and 13-megapixel rear-facing camera with Sony’s Exmor RS IMX214 sensor. The device runs Android 4.4 KitKat out of the box.

The Oppo R1C joins the company’s existing devices, including the N1, N3, R5, Find 5 and Find 7.

Sapphire Stories August 5, 2014

Kyocera’s Sapphire Shield smartphone display takes a beating in new stress test video

Kyocera has published a new video of its Sapphire Shield smartphone cover in action, pitting it against standard impact-resistant glass in a few drop and scratch tests. As you might expect, the sapphire cover fared much better than the glass. While the glass display was easily scratched and shattered using a piece of granite, the Sapphire Shield looked like it had just come out of the box.

The Sapphire Shield can currently be found on Kyocera’s Brigadier smartphone, which became available from Verizon last week. The phone is currently one of a few to sport a sapphire display, though it’s widely believed that Apple will be debuting such a device early next month.

You can see the full Sapphire Shield stress test below:

Sapphire Stories May 23, 2014

Samsung & LG planning to use sapphire-covered screens on premium smartphones – rumor

There’s been much speculation about Apple’s plans for its sapphire glass plant, with many suggesting it will use it as a replacement for the Gorilla Glass coatings used on current iPhones when it launches the iPhone 6.

Samsung and LG reportedly plan to follow suit, with Korean site ET News citing unspecified industry sources as saying that both companies have asked suppliers to provide samples of sapphire covers for its screens.

According to the industry on May 22, Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics recently asked ingot and wafer makers to submit samples in an effort to adopt the sapphire cover glass […]

“As late as last year, cell phone makers tried very hard to lower the price of sapphire,” said a sapphire ingot industry insider. “But this year as the mood swung toward using good materials to get premium prices, related industries are responding to the market more actively.”

As rumors go, this one is pretty thin. Samsung is known to have explored the use of sapphire in the past, dismissing it as too expensive, and it is likely the decision remains under constant review. Inviting manufacturers to submit samples would therefore not be in any way surprising, and doesn’t necessarily tell us anything about either company’s plans.

But with Apple investing heavily in sapphire, it is likely that Samsung and LG don’t want to be left behind, so the rumor can at least be chalked up as ‘thin but credible.’

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