CNET has learned from an industry source that Kyocera, the Japanese-based mobile company known for its rugged handsets, is in the process of developing a smartphone with a sapphire display.
In addition, a YouTube video posted by a "Randy Katz" on July 10 shows a slab of Kyocera sapphire embedded in a smartphone-esque housing model being put through various torture tests. Compared to a piece of impact-resistant glass, the Kyocera sapphire glass sustained several hard scratches from a rock and remained unscathed after being dropped against a small pebble on the floor.
At this time, Kyocera representatives declined to comment, but our inside source did confirm that this is a real lab video.
Synthetically manufactured sapphire has garnered much interest for its impressive durability. According to CNET's Jessica Dolcourt, it is already "used in aerospace, military, and medical devices -- especially lasers, protective windows, and highly specialized lenses." It is also rumored to be included in Apple's upcoming iPhone 6 flagship. Understandably, the material has gained the scrutiny of its Corning rivals, which claims that sapphire crystal is more expensive, heavier, and more harmful to the environment than its own Gorilla Glass.
Kyocera, has developed crystal sapphire before, and has been known to explore different technologies in order to make its handsets as tough as possible. Its Smart Sonic Receiver, for example, boosts audio quality without the need for an in-ear speaker, removing one less opening or vulnerability in the display.
Be sure to check back with CNET as we know more about this story. In the mean time, what do you think of sapphire glass? Would you want it on your next smartphone, given the video above? Let us know in the reader comments below.