Plastic screen films, tempered glass, privacy covers, anti-glare screens — no matter how high or low tech, screen protectors are generally seen as a must-have for anyone who's just sunk $1000-plus into a shiny new smartphone. While clear plastic screen protectors are a dime a dozen, it turns out that overprotective phone owners are increasingly turning to the pricier, but safer, options on the market.
Photo by Spigen
New data released by Cellnet on the way people are protecting their screens shows a few interesting trends — first and foremost that in the last year alone, glass screen protectors have overtaken plastic as the most popular way to save your screen from scratching or shattering.
In 2014, clear film screen protectors easily had the largest market share, making up 40% of Cellnet's sales. In 2015 this has dropped rapidly to 27%, while glass screen protectors have jumped from 25% to 38% and is still on the way up. Even with updated screen technology like Gorilla Glass, it seems people would still rather be safe than sorry — after all, what's a $30 screen protector compared to $100+ to replace a broken screen?
So what's with the rise in glass? It's significantly more expensive than traditional plastic films, but when smartphones are becoming a greater part of our daily lives, perhaps more consumers are seeing the sense in spending that little extra. Clear films, as many of you might already know, are fiddly to apply and often have a matte finish that feels different to your phone's regular screen.
Of course, some people prefer the fingerprint resistant matte cover, but most consumers would rather go for a glass screen that feels exactly like the phone underneath it.
Photo by Zagg
With such a rapid change in the trends, you have to wonder what's coming next. Privacy screens might sound like a fantastic idea to those of you who spend a lot of time on crowded trains, with tiny ridges in the surface making sure a nosy neighbour can't snoop on your screen. Or maybe you're a notorious klutz and even tempered glass won't stand up to the way you treat your phone — the newest technology available is a three layer protection, with a soft, cushioning material on the bottom, covered my an impact resistant material, topped with something called 'Self-healing Nano-Memory Technology'. (It sounds like a bit of overkill to me.)
Aside from developments in screen protection technology, many trends are increasingly informed by the design of the phones themselves. Curved screens like Samsung's Edge products provide a bit more of a challenge when designing a screen protector — but rest assured, there is already a plastic protector offering scratch protection for the Samsung Edge, and I wouldn't be surprised if a glass design was hot on its heels.
Something else Cellnet noted was that sales of clear phone cases have risen by 10% as compared to black cases — and with the announcement of the iPhone 6s's new range of colours, no doubt this trend will continue.
Are you a fan of good old plastic, tempered glass, or even one of the more expensive specialty screen protectors? Or do you trust in your phone's existing screen technology and leave it in God's hands? Tell us in the comments!