We recently had a chance to speak with Joseph Jaconi, co-founder and general manager of screen protector/phone case manufacturer Tech Armor. The story behind the company is rather interesting: A recent Forbes article provides a quite fascinating look at how Jaconi and his partner Eric Tong founded the company, which has grown rapidly.
Here’s what Jaconi had to say to us about the screen protector category and the company’s future plans:
Technology Tell: Why are screen protectors so important? What do people need to know about screen protectors that they might not?
Jaconi: Screen protectors are important in that they protect the most valuable feature of today’s smartphones, their ability to transmit a beautiful image, whether it be a photo, web page or video. What people might not know about screen protectors is that in addition to preventing scratches and abrasions, they also protect your resale value. The single most important factor in determining a phone’s resale value, other than it functioning, is the quality of the display or screen. What do you do when you get a new phone? You sell the old one.
TT: Do you have any data on the percentage of smartphones that have screen protectors? Are they pretty much standard for most smartphones or does the market have a long way to grow?
Jaconi: The majority of smartphones sold in stores get bundled on site or buy later online. There is always room to grow, and while people talk of saturation in the smartphone market, people are investing more in their phones and also making the jump from feature phones to smartphones and need to protect that investment, hopefully with Tech Armor!
TT: Have you ever heard an objection to screen protectors? What do people not like about them? And how do you respond to those objections?
Jaconi: Many will say smartphones and tablets use Gorilla Glass and cannot be scratched or damaged. However, I would strongly advise against putting an unprotected phone in your pocket with your keys. Others complain they don’t like the feel of plastic film, and for the discerning user who wants the very best, we offer the Tech Armor Ballistic Glass Screen Protector which is true tempered glass with an anti-fingerprint coating that feels just as your smartphone was intended, while providing maximum protection.
TT: There are dozens of companies doing screen protectors, and probably hundreds doing iPhone cases. What is it about your offering that differs from all the rest?
Jaconi: At Tech Armor we start with the highest quality materials available and never sacrifice quality to try and lower costs. We spend countless hours on our product design, and our user experience team takes great care In the creation of our installation videos, product instructions, and out-of-box experience. Our customer support team offers help 7 days a week, 18 hours a day (we need a few hours to sleep or we would do 24/7 ). We then back our products up with a no-hassle lifetime product replacement warranty.
TT: From what I understand, you guys don’t do brick-and-mortar retail. Is that something that will change going forward, or will you stay online-only? What are your thoughts on the future of brick-and-mortar retailing and your place in it?
Jaconi: We actually do sell to specialty brick-and-mortar retailers globally, and count on over 1,000 retail outlets that carry our products today in addition to our e-commerce presence. Our belief is that smaller format, nimble retailers will continue to thrive globally and we are developing solutions to address their needs. We are launching more products including a line designed for “Brick and Mortar Retail Only” that will launch in Q3 of this year.
TT: Thanks for setting me straight on that! Moving on, we recently went out with a “bulletproof” screen protector and shot bullet holes in it. Any plans for a bulletproof version we can test out?
Jaconi: Unfortunately it would have to be a really thick screen protector, so you won’t see something truly bulletproof from us this year, but the Tech Armor Ballistic Glass is the next best thing and the #1 selling tempered glass screen protector online. I loved the video by the way, and Devon is a good shot too, first try!
TT: What can we expect next from Tech Armor?
Jaconi: Tech Armor customers can expect continued advances in protection this year with further innovation in tempered glass solutions, including blue light blocking tempered glass, privacy glass and more. Advanced power solutions and additional protection in fresh case designs will also be seen this fall with the launch of a new phone we are all too excited about!