Most iPhone repair business locations are driven by cracked and broken LCD screen replacements.
Recently, we’ve had many of our clients commenting that Apple’s announcement to begin replacing broken iPhone 5 screens for $149.00 without warranty coverage or a deductible, which makes for very stiff competition. While there isn’t an Apple store within distance to all broken LCD screen customers, it’s left some mobile repair shop’s profitability dependent on selling out their broken LCD screen after the repair.
Increased repair competition and the possible looming introduction of PET glass screen protectors should have mobile phone and iPhone repair businesses thinking about the future.
One of my good friends and partners in Asia contacted me a few weeks ago about several products he was developing in their factory and asked if I would give some him some honest feedback on their new PET glass screen protectors.
Last week I received these PET “Tempered Glass” screen protector samples for the following models (pictured below):
- Samsung Galaxy S3 (White)
- Samsung Galaxy Note II (White)
- Samsung Galaxy S4 (Black & White)
- Apple iPhone 5 (Black)
What is PET Glass?
Since this is a relatively new type of product, I think it’s best to explain what exactly PET glass is. PET is short for Polyethylene terephthalate and is most commonly pronounced spelling out the letters of “PET” as “P.E.T.” It’s been used as a reinforcement layer in the popular “Gorilla Glass” LCD screens from phone manufacturers over recent years. It’s been around, but the additional cost to develop with older model LCD screens wasn’t worth the price. Without getting all scientific, the PET glass gains strength by changing different elements of the initial melting and final cooling stages.
The advantage is that it’s a thin, lightweight glass that much better at distributing pressure when a cell phone is dropped, which greatly reduces the chance of the the LCD cracking and, in many cases, prevents even the PET glass screen protector from cracking.
How Could PET Glass Impact the Mobile Phone Repair Business?
Mobile phone LCD screens are becoming larger and smarter, increasing the cost of repair parts across the board. I know this from firsthand experience, and many others have said the same thing. When an iPhone 5, Galaxy S3, Galaxy Note II or Galaxy S4 cracked LCD screen customer walks into your retail store and finds out the repair cost, they tend to hit the door running moreso than they’ve ever done in the past with previous models. Consumers are relying more on their phones to function each day, increasing the chances of a potential drop. With the screens becoming larger, who wants to put an already overly sized mobile phone in a bulky case?
I tried and couldn’t get my Note II in my back pocket, so the case came off and has suffered a few minor casing cracks and a small chip in the upper right hand corner. Unless I want to feel like I’m carrying a computer around, an Otterbox wasn’t really an option! I think the bottom line is that consumers will become too frustrated with having a $149+ repair cost every time they accidentally drop their phone.
It might be a bit bold, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say consumer demand and advancing technology in the next five years or less will be available to manufacturers to the point where cracked screens (even for major drops and abuse) will be drastically reduced, if not virtually eliminated!
Until then, the free market has come up with a PET glass screen protector for those who catch on.
Review of Sample PET Glass Protectors:
- Applying the PET glass protector to my Samsung Galaxy Note II was a breeze. There was actually an applicator device that came with the samples that allows a perfect adhesive touch when applying, but I did not use that. There is a thin layer of adhesive on the layer that touches the LCD screen, and both sides of the glass are protected with a standard screen protector.
- While it’s not as thin as a plastic screen protector, it’s not far off. With the size of the Note II screen, it’s not nearly as noticeable as if you put it on a smaller screen model. There is a little bit of a lip that you can feel with the phone in your hand, but after 12 days of use I don’t notice it anymore.
- The touchscreen with my finger or stylus is virtually un-noticeable with the PET glass installed.
- All cut holes fit perfectly for the home button, speaker phone, earpiece, camera and infrared areas.
- Applying such a PET screen protector does nothing to void the manufacturer warranty.
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