Xiaomi Mi5 smartphone with sapphire display to launch at CES 2015?

The much-rumored Xiaomi Mi5 smartphone could boast a high-end sapphire display when it launches next year, according to a new report.

Sapphire displays have been touted for a good while now, but a wider adoption is yet to occur. Apple was rumored to launch its 2014 iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones with sapphire displays, but that obviously did not happen. Rumors at the time said the company ultimately decided to launch its new iPhones without sapphire screens due to low yield rates in producing such panels.

Kyocera nonetheless launched a sapphire display smartphone, and if a new report turns out to be accurate Xiaomi may be another company to beat Apple to the punch in this endeavor.

According to a new report from DigiTimes, Xiaomi reportedly plans to launch its next-generation Mi5 smartphone with a sapphire display. Unlike Kyocera's offering, however, the upcoming Xiaomi Mi5 will reportedly be a high-end smartphone targeting consumers who want both power and luxury from their handset.

The publication claims that Xiaomi may take the wraps off its new smartphone at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2015, and the Mi5 may boast a 5.7-inch sapphire display.

"China-based smartphone vendor Xiaomi Technology is likely to adopt sapphire for protective covers of Xiaomi 5, its 5.7-inch flagship model that will be showcased at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show, Taiwan-based supply chain makers cited industry sources in China as indicating," notes the report.

The Xiaomi Mi5 is expected to rock a large 5.7-inch sapphire display with a QHD resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels, pack a 64-bit quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor under the hood, and 3GB of RAM to keep things running smoothly. Little else is known about the rest of the purported smartphone's specifications, but more information may surface shortly, ahead of the CES 2015 trade show.

If this report turns out to be accurate, it will be interesting to see just how Xiaomi will manage to handle production to obtain satisfactory yield rates. As DigiTimes itself points out, this may be quite a challenge.

"If Xiaomi decides to adopt sapphire, existing sapphire production capacity is not sufficient to meet the demand, according to sources with Taiwan-based sapphire wafer makers," explains the publication.  "For 5-inch and larger device screens, sapphire ingots' cross-section area must be enlarged and this will increase the time taken to grow sapphire crystal and decrease yield rates, the sources said."

Moreover, DigiTimes' sources further added that protective covers made of sapphire also imply complicated processing, as well as higher costs. According to the report, China-based Lens Technology and Biel Crystal Manufactory have already expanded their sapphire processing capacities in order to handle sapphire cover production.

If Xiaomi does indeed plan to unveil its Mi5 smartphone at CES 2015, we should learn more about it soon enough. In the meantime, keep in mind that DigiTimes doesn't have the best track record when it comes to the accuracy of its reports, so take this news with a grain of salt.

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