Chinese technology firm Huawei managed to steal a march on Apple Thursday with the release a new smartphone with a scratch-resistant screen made out of gemstones.
A screen made of sapphire has been widely touted as a key feature of the long-awaited iPhone 6, due for release next Tuesday. The blue stone is considered to be tougher and more scratch-proof than the chemically strengthened "Gorilla Glass" that Apple currently uses, and the tech giant was expected be the first to make use of it in smartphone screens.
But Huawei has beaten Apple to it, with the launch of a limited sapphire-screen edition of its Ascend P7 at the 2014 IFA (Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin) Trade Fair in Berlin.
Huawei is yet to detail any price for the phone but it says it will debut in China in the third-quarter of 2014, with details about international availability to follow. Its standard Ascend P7 costs just under £300 ($489) in Europe, which was launched in the spring to much fanfare and is seen as aimed at Europeans.
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"Not only does the new Sapphire Edition demonstrate our advanced craftsmanship, but it also highlights our successful strategic deployment of resources to deliver the most advanced technology into the hands of consumers," Richard Yu, the CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group said in a press release.
Huawei said that the sapphire -- which was manufactured rather than mined -- was the world's second-hardest material after diamond, and that the new glass boasts "increased scratch resistance, crack resistance, superior thermal and infrared conductivity, and advanced visual appeal."