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Sapphire glass will find its way into smartphone displays, GT Advanced (GTAT) insists. Sapphire,...

Sapphire glass will find its way into smartphone displays, GT Advanced (GTAT) insists. Sapphire, used in the iPhone 5's camera lens, is thinner and ~3x stronger/scratch-resistant than Gorilla Glass (GLW). But a sapphire display costs ~$30, whereas a Gorilla Glass display costs less than $3. GT is hoping its furnaces, which can be upgraded to support larger crystals at little cost, will narrow the gap to 3x-4x. Industry analyst Eric Virey, who thinks sapphire's cost could fall below $20 in a couple years, expects "some high-end smartphones using sapphire in 2013." (previous)
Comments (20)
  • Furbonacci
    , contributor
    Comments (370) | Send Message
     
    the story is finally getting told.
    21 Mar 2013, 06:50 PM Reply Like
  • Tack
    , contributor
    Comments (13040) | Send Message
     
    All the phones that will use sapphire at 3-4x the cost won't fill up one cargo container, if that.
    21 Mar 2013, 07:04 PM Reply Like
  • stsinc
    , contributor
    Comments (23) | Send Message
     
    Like others have said, i'd buy one. 2 months of insurance premiums no longer needed would cover the cost. My daughter destroyed 2 phones in a year. I'd be all over that.
    22 Mar 2013, 10:10 AM Reply Like
  • xtrader13
    , contributor
    Comments (4) | Send Message
     
    If this is the type of logic that GTAT execs hang their hat on... sounds like a short! they are fighting the wrong battle. I am Long GLW.
    21 Mar 2013, 07:20 PM Reply Like
  • Brett22
    , contributor
    Comments (83) | Send Message
     
    ALL the meaningful growth in smartphones will be from the developing world and phones that cost under $200. Manufacturers are looking at every component to get to a low price point so adding expensive glass seems very unlikely except for a few phones that will be priced like a Prada handbag relative to the high volume low priced phones.
    21 Mar 2013, 07:34 PM Reply Like
  • dknow
    , contributor
    Comments (54) | Send Message
     
    The perception of developing markets just wanting cheap phones..couldn't be further from the truth. My lowly Bangladeshi gardener here in the Saudi even has an iphone. Having the latest phone tech gives wanted status and therefore more intrinsically valuable- more so than I ever saw in the States. It took me a while to figure out, but their phone is probably the most valuable possession for many third worlders. Disposable phones are non-existent because we're on SIM cards instead of subscription services.

     

    Aside - What I'm really anxious to hear is the announcement that the massive solar manufacturing development deal in Jubail has finally been inked. Today's little pop will be nothing in comparison to that day - August 6??? mark my words.
    30 Jul 2013, 02:36 PM Reply Like
  • WPSPIKER
    , contributor
    Comments (1148) | Send Message
     
    Who would/is in that solar project? got any companies to list (JASO) (SUNE) (SOL) or (FLSR)?
    30 Jul 2013, 04:29 PM Reply Like
  • dknow
    , contributor
    Comments (54) | Send Message
     
    Business here can move very slowly and the selection processes be politically swayed. There's a rapidly growing population with no ingrained energy conservation attitude. Gas for my car costs about 12 cents per liter, so Tahoes and Suburbans are very popular. Using export product for producing electricity, however, doesn't make sense when there is abundant sunshine. I believe this will be a new company made from the ground up that will be owned domestically to support the local economy and perhaps produce another export product. The equipment supplier will have to be well established and able to backup/support their product.

     

    The problem I see is dust. Dust accumulates on everything here and would, I suspect, reduce efficiency. Maybe some type of windshield wiper for the arrays?
    2 Jan, 09:26 AM Reply Like
  • WPSPIKER
    , contributor
    Comments (1148) | Send Message
     
    Sounds to me like (GLW) Corning needs to be charging 3 or 4x what they are for the Gorilla Glass. ;) 3 bucks is pretty cheap for a 300 buck ijunk phone. I'm in GLW for a while at even collecting div.

     

    Mark
    21 Mar 2013, 07:51 PM Reply Like
  • Furbonacci
    , contributor
    Comments (370) | Send Message
     
    gtat's market cap is barely above $300M and has no sales in this industry, if GTAT can grab 5-10% of Gorilla Glass 1B in sales then BOOM
    21 Mar 2013, 08:33 PM Reply Like
  • SoldHigh
    , contributor
    Comments (1013) | Send Message
     
    GTAT's stock performance says otherwise, which is shame, because it'd be a great improvement to the phones. At $20-30, the cost is simply too great compared to GG at $3. That said, I expect both sides to innovate, resulting in better 'glass' at better prices.
    21 Mar 2013, 09:15 PM Reply Like
  • johncworth
    , contributor
    Comments (425) | Send Message
     
    the thing is, how many people who have gorilla glass are thinking "gosh, i wish my phone had better glass. I would pay a LOT more for a phone with better glass!" Sapphire fixes a problem that few perceive as existing, and even fewer would pay a premium to address.
    21 Mar 2013, 09:16 PM Reply Like
  • taplinger
    , contributor
    Comments (205) | Send Message
     
    That's a really interesting question, and I would hope good market research people could answer that with some accuracy. I know a lot of people shopping for a quality watch pay attention to whether the crystal is sapphire or not - nothing ruins the look of a watch faster than a scratched crystal. Believe me, having a watch on your wrist makes it very vulnerable to damage.
    23 Mar 2013, 10:04 PM Reply Like
  • johncworth
    , contributor
    Comments (425) | Send Message
     
    Actually, I agree with you on the watch issue. A very high quality watch is far from a commodity item, and yet still can take a pretty good beating.
    24 Mar 2013, 01:12 AM Reply Like
  • gdupree
    , contributor
    Comments (4) | Send Message
     
    Right now sapphire is only $27 more than Gorilla Glass, and the price will drop soon. Since the iPhone is overpriced, I'm sure another phone manufacture would be able to make sapphire competitively priced.
    21 Mar 2013, 10:38 PM Reply Like
  • rrosey2
    , contributor
    Comments (693) | Send Message
     
    Who needs better glass ?

     

    I keep my iPhone in my pocket with my keys, and there's not one scratch.
    21 Mar 2013, 11:58 PM Reply Like
  • haslepat
    , contributor
    Comment (1) | Send Message
     
    Just had to buy a new iPhone because the display crashed in my old one. I had to invest $60 in a protective case. I would be more than glad to pay $50 for an iPhone with Sapphire glass...
    22 Mar 2013, 05:19 AM Reply Like
  • patriot_invstr
    , contributor
    Comments (38) | Send Message
     
    GLW has announced GG2 and GG3. Shouldn't the comparison be to those products?
    22 Mar 2013, 08:43 AM Reply Like
  • WPSPIKER
    , contributor
    Comments (1148) | Send Message
     
    Patriot I think these two variants are for some different products & maybe NOT directly competing with GG1 that was designed back in what the 1950's just not put into production.

     

    I see the "Willow Glass" as a really great item going forward as it is extremely flexible combined with OLEDs they were talking about a large format screen that can roll up. I do not know where they are in that development.

     

    It is finding USES for some of these NEW glass that makes (GLW) standout from some of the smaller manufactures on top of such a vast (Knowledge/Processes) that are not yet on their vast patent base. These Glass designs have mostly been kept under wraps until a commercial use is developed like GG1 it sat undeveloped for 60+ years due to it's cost & not being really required until smart phones came about.

     

    Mark
    22 Mar 2013, 08:58 AM Reply Like
  • The Political Economist
    , contributor
    Comments (40) | Send Message
     
    Is there any other use for sapphire? bullet-proof glass? jewelry? anything? That said, I agree that GTAT only needs a little of the cell phone market to make huge more profit.
    24 Mar 2013, 02:50 AM Reply Like
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