Sapphire: Strong Enough for Jewelry, But a Match Made in Heavy for Tech Products

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When we think of sapphires, most of us think of the expensive gemstones used in jewelry, but many people do not know sapphires actually have had a wide variety of industrial applications for hundreds of years. Why would companies want to use such an expensive mineral in their technology products? First and foremost, sapphire is incredibly durable, behind only diamond as the second hardest mineral, scoring 9.0 out of 10 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. It is also a very chemically stable mineral. Sapphire’s durability and chemical stability has made it ideal for use in precision mechanics, timepieces, displays and more, across many different industries.

Real sapphire – which is a variety of the mineral corundum, an aluminum oxide – saw its first industrial application more than 300 years ago as jewel bearings in high-end mechanical timepieces. While this was costly, longevity and accuracy were worth the high price of these components. These types of timepieces were built to pass down from generation to generation.

The first man-made sapphire was produced as far back as 1902, using a process of grinding natural aluminum oxide into powder and then heating it to 3,761°F. While most sapphires used in jewelry are colored, this is actually due to impurities in the mineral. Without any impurities present, sapphire is a completely clear material. It has high strength, anti-abrasion and anti-corrosion characteristics, good light transmission, and can be processed into sheets, all of which are ideal for clear device displays, such as smartphones, watches, microwaves, projectors, as well as precision tools and other electronic components.

Kyocera has been producing and utilizing man-made single-crystal sapphire for electronic components for more than 40 years. Some of the uses for sapphire include watch lenses, inspection equipment parts, medical diagnostic equipment parts and chamber windows. More recently, Kyocera began developing pure sapphire displays for its leading portfolio of ruggedized smartphones. Perfectly suited for rugged devices, sapphire displays have proven to be incredibly resistant to scratches and damage that often blemish smartphones. Once reserved for luxury phones costing thousands of dollars, only in the past few years have smartphone manufacturers begun using sapphire displays in mass-market phones, and Kyocera was the first.

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Kyocera’s Sapphire Shield Display technology is now used on multiple Kyocera smartphones, including the Kyocera DuraForce PRO at Verizon. Our Sapphire Shield helps protect devices by:

  • Resisting ongoing, minor scratches and micro-fractures. When you pay hundreds of dollars for a smartphone, you don’t want the touchscreen display to be degraded and ruined over time by ugly scratches and cracks. As phones sit in pockets and purses, however, that’s exactly what happens when they get scraped by keys, coins and other hard objects. At Kyocera, we like to show off the durability of our Sapphire Shield display by testing it with steel wool, knives, coins and other common display-killers.
  • Enhancing the long-term integrity of the display. Think of how glass is typically cut. Rather than actually cutting all the way through a sheet of glass, traditional glass cutters simply score the glass so it can be broken along that same score. Similarly, scratches and micro-fractures in a phone display weaken its integrity over time by preparing it to be more easily broken along those fault lines.

Sapphire displays cost more than typical hardened-glass displays, which explains why they were historically used only in high-end luxury phones. Kyocera, however, has gotten past that issue and used sapphire displays in devices costing far less than today’s most popular smartphones. It’s a win-win for everyone involved, but especially for the phones’ users, who can worry less about cosmetic blemishing and long-term failure (i.e., shattering) of their displays.

For more information about Kyocera’s Sapphire Shield Display technology, visit: https://www.kyoceramobile.com/sapphire-shield/ and for details on other applications of Kyocera sapphire technology, visit: http://global.kyocera.com/prdct/fc/list/material/sapphire/index.html

John Chier is director of corporate communications at Kyocera. He has worked on the Kyocera team shaping its communications strategy over the past 15 years – 13 of those years in-house and two with a Kyocera agency partner. John has always had a passion for writing and began his career as a newspaper reporter at the Whittier Daily News, part of a multi-paper syndicate in Los Angeles. When not working, he and his wife can usually be found coaching, shuttling, refereeing or cheering for his three sons and their numerous plays.

8 Reasons the Construction Industry Should Go Rugged in Choosing a Mobile Device

Whether you’re a construction business owner or a worker, you need mobile devices that are durable, secure, rugged and that offer software applications that are applicable for use in the field. Rugged devices have been used for years by businesses and workers that rely on teams out on job sites. However, these niche devices were often cumbersome, they required specialized technology and equipment, and they were usually very expensive.

More recently, advanced technology has made rugged mobile devices–such as the Kyocera lineup of smartphones and feature phones–widely available to the masses, for both business and consumer use, at an affordable price without compromising on features. Here are eight reasons why construction businesses and workers need to consider rugged devices:

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WHEN RUGGED TECHNOLOGY SAVES LIVES: KYOCERA DURA SERIES PHONE ENABLES WORKER TO CALL 911 AFTER FALLING INTO POND

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We’ve probably all called our mobile phones “lifesavers” at some point, but has your phone ever truly saved your life? Every now and then, we get stories from our customers that transcend the business of selling rugged mobile devices and enter the realm of actual life and death. We recently heard from Vincent Curtis Neill of California, who immediately got our attention when he said:

“When life is on the line, Kyocera’s Dura Series is the only phone you need.” Turns out he wasn’t exaggerating. Here’s Vincent’s story.

Vincent is an employee of Wild Wings Recycle Facility in Woodland, CA, and one of his job duties is to collect monthly water samples to be tested for California state permit compliance. With 20 years of experience collecting samples, this was nothing new for Vincent. But one recent day, when Vincent went to the effluent storage pond to collect the sample, his foot gave way on some algae and he slid right into the large pond. For those who don’t know, “effluent” means liquid waste or sewage, so this immediately became a dangerous situation.

Despite being a good swimmer, Vincent’s heavy work gear combined with slippery, algae-coated edges of the pond to make him unable to swim or to grab onto anything. He quickly became tired from treading water and realized he was in trouble. With no coworkers around, Vincent went to try to use his (non-Kyocera) work phone, which was in his pocket, to call for help. Falling in the pond, however, had killed the non-rugged device. He then realized that he had forgotten to take his personal Kyocera Dura Series phone out of his other pocket that day when he arrived at work. He grabbed it and, since it is fully ruggedized and waterproof, it was still working. Then, Vincent was able to call 911 from the soaked device. Thankfully the local fire department arrived quickly and pulled him out of the pond to safety. He was cold and weak by that point, but he was alive and safe.

“It is without a doubt that I am alive today because I have the best phone in the world—the Kyocera Dura Series,” Neill said. “I would recommend this lineup of phones to anyone who needs a phone that won’t let them down.”

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Vincent originally chose the Kyocera Dura Series as his personal mobile device because he wanted a phone that was dependable and durable.

“When it was time to get a new phone, I thought of my old flip phone and asked what was available that was rugged and steadfast,” he said.

A salesman recommended the Kyocera Dura Series, and choosing it became one of the best decisions of his life. With the Dura Series’ rugged features, including military-grade protection and waterproofing that allows the device to be submerged in up to 6.5 feet of water for up to 30 minutes, Vincent was lucky to have chosen a device that can stand up to harsh environments when it mattered most.

While our mission at Kyocera is to be the leader in rugged mobile solutions, we’re also passionate about delivering technologies that really make life easier and better for our customers. While we never want anyone to be in a situation like Vincent was a few weeks ago, we are so glad that our technology was able to help save his life.

John is director of corporate communications at Kyocera. He has worked on the Kyocera team shaping its communications strategy over the past 15 years – 13 of those years in-house and two with a Kyocera agency partner. John has always had a passion for writing and began his career as a newspaper reporter at the Whittier Daily News, part of a multi-paper syndicate in Los Angeles. When not working, he and his wife can usually be found coaching, shuttling, refereeing or cheering for his three sons and their numerous plays, concerts and sports teams.

From Futuristic to Functional: A Look at the Top Trends from CES 2017

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The 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas was as crazy as you might have imagined it to be, with more than 165,000 attendees in the technology industry converging on Sin City all at once. While I am still trying to catch my breath from all of the meetings, announcements and new products, this year’s CES did not disappoint in terms of highlighting some really cool technology. All sorts of “things,” from refrigerators to hairbrushes to cars, are getting connected to the Internet. And as part of the wireless industry, I couldn’t help but notice that mobile devices are at the core of most of these connections.

After taking a look at the myriad product introductions at CES 2017, there were several trends that stood above the “noise” of the show, including the Internet of Things (IoT), wearables, AR/VR, connected cars and robotics. While many of these trends were also front and center last year, they are now becoming more consumer-friendly, cost-efficient, and ready (or much closer to ready) for primetime and mass adoption.

Here are some of the major takeaways from our time at CES 2017:

  • The IoT Revolution is Closer: Mobile is front and center of the Internet of Things (IoT), and many of the products and services showcased at CES this year proved that. While many companies are integrating connectivity and sensors into every day products to make them “smart,” the companies that do so in a way that is seamless, straightforward and provides clear value to consumers will ultimately be successful and drive IoT technologies forward to widespread use. One fun example we saw is Target, which is releasing a line of Bluetooth-connected lamps that use tunable white lights and are remarkably affordable.
  • Driving the Connected and Autonomous Car Forward: While fully autonomous driving is not a reality for 2017, more and more vehicles are implementing technologies such as self-parking and automatic braking that are getting us closer to that reality. Companies like Chrysler, Faraday Future and Honda made headlines at CES this year with impressive vehicle showcases. Chrysler featured the Chrysler Portal Concept car, which is fully autonomous and has face and voice recognition built in. While there is no specific plan for commercialization, some of the types of technologies used in the concept vehicle will be available in the not-too-distant future. Faraday Future was founded in 2014 and since then has developed two major concept cars, including the FF FFZero1, which debuted at CES last year, and the FF91, which debuted this year. The FF91 is a stealth-like luxury electric car that will offer many autonomous features such as self-driving and self-parking in addition to a 378-mile range. And for another really cool innovation, the Honda Riding Assist is a self-balancing concept motorcycle, designed to provide the thrill of riding a motorcycle while reducing the danger quotient. It keeps the rider upright, even at low speeds.
  • Robots Take to the Earth and Sky: Robotics was another popular category at CES this year, from inexpensive drones to robots that cost upwards of $10,000. One drone that caught the attention of many techies this year is UVify’s Draco. This drone is modular, easy to repair, and includes assisted flight modes for learning, making it an especially good option for racing. While it isn’t cheap at $499, its modularity allows for easy fixes if an arm or blade happens to break off from crashing into a tree. Another company, Elephant Robotics, showcased a $10,000 robotic arm launching next month that has integrated computer vision and can reduce the overall cost of machinery that’s used for loading/unloading, packaging and testing by 80 percent.
  • Rugged Holds Real Value: CES runs at a frantic pace, and gets more crowded every year. I can’t tell you how many people I saw drop their phones during the course of the show while trying to get from point A to point B. Most mobile devices announced at CES just don’t have the durability to survive through a major fall or a dunk in the pool. Rugged devices—ones that are durable, waterproof and don’t need additional expensive cases—continue to rise in popularity because of their reliability and cost-savings compared to traditional devices, without compromising on features or performance. While most major wireless-industry announcements will probably be made at Mobile World Congress next month in Barcelona, we came away from our time at CES confident that 2017 is full of opportunity for rugged devices.

Now that CES has come and gone, it’s always exciting to see how far the industry will evolve in the coming year. Regardless of what comes next, it is a sure-fire bet that IoT, automotive, robotics and rugged will all continue to be hot topics in 2017 and beyond.

John Chier is director of corporate communications at Kyocera. He has worked on the Kyocera team shaping its communications strategy over the past 15 years – 13 of those years in-house and two with a Kyocera agency partner. John has always had a passion for writing and began his career as a newspaper reporter at the Whittier Daily News, part of a multi-paper syndicate in Los Angeles. When not working, he and his wife can usually be found coaching, shuttling, refereeing or cheering for his three sons and their numerous plays, concerts and sports teams. 

busybusy, Kyocera Join Forces at the 2017 International Builders’ Show

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The beginning of each year always comes with an influx of trade shows and events across multiple industries. While last week we were running all over Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show, this week Kyocera is joining forces with one of our fantastic software partners, busybusy, to participate at the 2017 NAHB International Builders’ Show (IBS) in Orlando. We will be showcasing how our hardware and busybusy’s software can help the construction industry enhance productivity via mobile technology.

Construction Marketplace, one of the key media outlets covering the show, just published its show guide, and highlights Kyocera and busybusy’s partnership on page 42 of its newest issue. From project and field management to communications, connectivity and materials and resource management, Kyocera and busybusy are working together closely to meet the unique and specific needs of the construction industry.

To read more about our partnership with busybusy at IBS, please read page 42 of Construction Marketplace’s show guide. And if you’re at IBS this week in Orlando, be sure to stop by busybusy’s booth (#W5371) to learn more about our complete solution for the construction industry.