Vivo Sapphire Smartphone

Apple Taught Us the Gold Standard, but Vivo is Teaching Us the Sapphire Standard

July 31, 2014 - Written By Phil Bourget

Most everyone on the Internet today has heard or seen something about the newest iPhone, the rumored iPhone 6 which is set to not only be coming in two sizes, 4.7-inch and  5.5-inch screen sizes, but one or possibly both of them may have sapphire crystal incorporated into the display’s glass.  Sapphire crystal, for those that might not know, is one of the hardest and most scratch- and scuff-proof materials/minerals known to exist on earth.  One last fun fact before this goes Android, I promise.  Sapphire is actually related directly to diamond, recognized as the hardest substance on earth, so it is not only tough but also pricey.  And that takes us to ‘why isn’t it used if it’s so great at keeping a front screen pristine?’

Well, it’s expensive.  Not outrageously, but pricey enough to dissuade immediate ‘sapphire all the things!’ thinking.  But one company from China may be taking Apple head-on in the sapphire battle.  Vivo, a manufacturer in China, is set to release a device with an unknown name, with a metal frame, that’s full-metal not mostly-metal folks, with a front glass panel made of sapphire.  Not with.  Of sapphire.  Presumably, entirely out of sapphire, but at least with a full coating on top of the glass to aid in scratch resistance.

What does this mean for every other company, especially Apple whose screen we already have seen to have some sapphire crystal integration?  Well, it means first that the device, according to the source on Weibo, will cost 3998 Chinese yuan, or around $650 USD, which is normal for a phone nowadays.  It also means that, if the rumor is true, that the device from Vivo is legitimate and is indeed coming clad in metal and sapphire, it will also be released close to the announcement and launch of Apple’s next flagship.  Oh yeah, and this Vivo phone will run android on a 5-inch screen.

Kyocera also joined the train of companies using sapphire in display glass, with their latest rugged phone, the Brigadier, which we covered a little bit ago, so go check that out too.  The interesting thing to see is twofold.  First, these devices seem to not be outrageously expensive (relative to what phones cost nowadays, of course).  And then there’s the issue of timeliness when incorporating sapphire into a phone’s glass front.  Kyocera has one now, and it’s essentially the beginning of August.  Vivo will have one in the next two months for sure.  But Apple, the company known for timely, scheduled things, from software to hardware, may have us waiting for sapphire to be on the 5.5-inch iPhone this fall, but that’s the thing.  If you want sapphire protection, you don’t necessarily need: 1), Apple or 2), to wait too long to get your hands on a device with it.  Be sure to stay dialed in to catch any wind of the expansion of sapphire into an Android screen coming near you.