Corning still talking smack about sapphire; does it have a point, or is it just worried?

When you’re talking about making smartphone displays that are durable enough to withstand the hell we put our phones through on a day-to-day basis, there’s no name bigger than Corning. Its various iterations of Gorilla Glass over the years have protected many a smartphone, but lately the conversation’s been moving from what we can do to toughen-up glass, to what other glass-like materials might make superior screen coverings. Synthetic sapphire crystal has been dominating our imaginations, and rumors suggest that Apple could very well be ramping-up production in an effort to deliver the first mass-market phone protected by such a covering. In a recent interview, Corning VP Tony Tripeny had quite a bit to say about the negative consequences of using sapphire for such a purpose.

Corning talking trash about sapphire is nothing new, and we’ve heard similar comments going back to last spring. In addition to the complaints about sapphire being more brittle than Gorilla Glass, Corning now raises a few new issues. For instance, it points out that sapphire transmits less light than glass, possibly setting up display backlights to be working overtime. The company also mentions the environmental toll sapphire production may result in, consuming far more energy than fabricating comparable Gorilla Glass panels.

Granted, few companies know glass like Corning does, so we’re conflicted between appreciating these concerns as the opinions of experts, and seeing Corning as a commercial entity that’s feeling threatened by the rise of new competition. Is there merit to what it’s saying here? If those Apple rumors pan out, we could know in just a matter of months.

Source: Morgan Stanley (Seeking Alpha)

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Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bits Read more about Stephen Schenck!