It’s safe to assume that everyone has had, or has seen someone else with, a cracked or shattered smartphone screen. Regardless of brand, model, or carrier it seems that all smartphone displays are made using the same (easily breakable) materials. Actually, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. There are many different types of displays used for the screens on your smartphone and each type is made differently.
An LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) is most commonly used for TV, computer and cell phone screens. Though LCD screens are very thin, they are composed of several different layers. These layers include 2 polarized panels that contain a liquid crystal solution between them. Since neither the solution nor the polarized panels produce light, a backlight is used to project and colorize light in order to produce a visible image.
There are different types of LCD screens used for different devices. The TFT-LCD (Thin Film Transistor) is used to improve LCD image quality. Each pixel on the display has its own transistor, offering better control and quality over the graphics rendered on the screen.
Though the image quality is better than a standard LCD screen, the TFT display has poor viewing angles. The display looks best when viewed head-on and can be difficult to see from the sides.
IPS-LCD (In-Plane Switching) is similar to TFT-LCD. However, instead of having 1 transistor per pixel it has 2, allowing better viewing angles. Because of this, though, your smartphone will require more power from the backlight being used and will ultimately consume more power or battery life than the TFT-LCD or standard LCD screens.
High-end cell phones and other mobile devices such as the iPhone, iPad and Motorola Droid utilize IPS-LCD in their screens.