Motorola Delivers the End of Shattered Screens

October 30, 2015 by Jennifer A. Diffley

No more expensive replacements for your inevitably-busted smartphone screen? Motorola has just made our dreams come true.

The world's first shatterproof screen? It's about time.

The Droid Turbo 2 was unveiled today with significantly less fanfare than the iPhone 6S. But the demure-looking Droid has a stellar secret: its screen is shatterproof.

Not shatter-resistant or flexible, but shatterproof.  

That may not seem like that big of a deal, but if you're ever shattered your screen (and there's a huge chance you have), you've probably spent around $130 on its repair. And, in addition to the cost of replacing the screen, most opt for insurance or AppleCare, which means shelling out a deductible or waiting for a refurbished replacement phone. Gone to one of those repair kiosks in the mall? They don't perform repairs in an ESD-proof room or use original parts, which means six months down the road you could be looking at a dead phone with a voided warranty. So while the smartphone industry loves cracked screens, the general public absolutely doesn't.

The $129 mistake.

The Droid Turbo 2's Moto ShatterShield is the world's first shatterproof display. It works through five separate shock-absorbent layers that help to maintain structural integrity. Interestingly enough, not one of those five layers is glass. Because glass breaks.

The Droid Turbo 2's five shock-absorbent layers.

Layer one is a hard plastic with a coating that detracts abrasions and dents. No word yet if it has an oil desiccating topcoat. Layer two is a flexible shatterproof transparent interior lens. The third layer is also flexible, but this is the touch layer that includes both the main touch layer and another backup layer in case the first is damaged from impact. Then comes another flexible thin display meant to absorb more shock while providing AMOLED picture quality. 

Most screens sit directly on top of the innards of the phone; the Droid Turbo 2 does not. The final layer is an aluminum chassis that keeps the screen components separate from the remainder of the phone. 

In addition to this, the case is water-repellent and Motorola offers a 4-year warranty against shattering (within reason; obviously, if you drive your car over it, the phone may be crushed). 

Anyone familiar with the massiveness of Otterboxes knows that protecting your phone means adding more bulk, which negates the point of having ever thinner phones. The Droid Turbo 2 is the first sign that smartphone companies are finally listening to their customers and acknowledging design weaknesses. But at $642, it's still a steep price to pay to ensure dropping your phone doesn't set you back a hundred bucks.

Clearly this technology will soon make its way through the mobile and consumer product industries, which then begs the question: where can we find it? Unfortunately, we won't see it any time soon from the Motorola/Google IP group since they will want to keep this technology proprietary (to remain ahead of Apple, though we suspect Apple won't be far behind with their latest patent). Engineers and makers alike may want to take notice that durability may become the next phase of design innovation, especially when the smartphone industry may be hitting its peak of new and useful features.

1 Comment
  • T
    theKnack November 06, 2015

    Having fixed my phone’s shattered screen a few times, I would say that it’s a major leap in phone screen technology. Looking forward to see real reviews of people pushing the limits of that screen!

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