The HTC One Mini 2 (pictured above) is just of the few smartphones to launch over the last couple of years using an aluminum build. All HTC One devices look great as a result, and feel good in the hand, too but building these devices isn't exactly cheap and those sort of smartphones aren't exactly light, either. Samsung and Motorola have come around to using aluminum frames in their devices and the Moto X and Galaxy Note 4 feel much nicer and look better as a result. It's not as easy to make huge numbers of these devices, which is why Samsung has focused on using plastic in many of their products, but a new research development from the Pohang University of Science and Technology in South Korea could hold the answer.
Researchers at the University fused different metals together to create a new alloy, one that has a similar strength to Titanium, but could be cast at around a tenth the cost as Titanium. To do this, the researchers focused on an Iron-Aluminum alloy, and then added nickel and steel to the mixture. By doing so, they created something that's very light, but also quite durable as well. Essentially paving the way for a new metal to be used in cars, aeroplanes, bikes or anywhere else a light yet strong metal frame is needed.
A lot of these research breakthroughs are just that; research breakthroughs. This new alloy has only been produced on a small scale inside the lab, but its proof of concept is an interesting one, and one that the team will start trialling on an industrial scale later this year. If successful, this research could pave the way for more smartphones and devices to use an aluminum alloy in their production, and our smartphones might get a whole lot tougher, as well as lighter and hopefully more affordable. Those interested can take a look at the The Economist's report on the research in detail at the source link. It's pretty interesting stuff, and could be an exciting development for the next few years to come.