By Stephen Schenck | April 11, 2012 1:41 AM
If you’ve been paying attention to the design of smartphones over the past several months, you’ve probably noticed talk of ceramics pop-up more than once. Manufacturers are trying to look beyond the standard metal and plastic we’re used to seeing make up our phones, and into compounds with more attractive properties. Ceramics offer a lot of potential, combining low weight with high strength, as well as being friendly around radio waves. That all sounds very promising, but the devil’s in the details, and owners of the new HTC One S have been reporting already running into problems with the ceramic coating on their phones.
The One S gets its ceramic coating through micro arc oxidation, which uses electricity to convert the outer layer of an aluminum part to a thin ceramic. In theory, that layer should be many times stronger than steel and capable of withstanding some abuse. Instead, owners of the One S are noticing chinks in the armor, with tiny chips and scratches showing up. Despite looking like the sort of damage a phone would get after a inopportune drop, owners claim they’ve been nothing but gentle with their new Androids, and this damage still occurs.
We know, it’s just a little cosmetic issue, but when you’re shelling out several hundred dollars for a new phone, you expect it to be quality-constructed. HTC has yet to comment on the issue.