Waterproof phones and tablets make a splash
We all know what lengths we take to hide our electronics in the many weather conditions we are working in. How many people do you know that have accidently dropped their phone in the lake, pool, or spilled coffee on their tablet? A soaked phone or tablet has traditionally meant shelling out for a costly replacement. But new technology has moved beyond waterproof cases and “rugged” cell phones designed to withstand rough conditions. Devices highlighted at this year’s Mobile World Congress and Consumer Electronics Show suggest the future is bright for phones and tablets that are both stylish and waterproof — or at least water-resistant.
“If you’re having a bath and you really want to enjoy that great movie … and (the tablet) accidentally falls into the bath, it’s OK,” said Xperia Z product manager Sharath Muddaiah. That level of waterproofing is already incorporated in a few Sony smartphones such as the Acro S and Advance, and most recently with the Xperia Z.
The Xperia Z’s makers said it can withstand sprays of water — such as sprinkler play on a lawn or a water fight. They even claim it can be dunked in up to 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes.
There’s no specific or special coating on the device, Muddaiah said. Rather, the device is made water-resistant in all of its parts without the stereotypically bulky design for which so-called rugged phones have been known.
“We see today that a lot of consumers would like to use their device in the rain — say you’re trying to using Google Maps and navigating,” Muddaiah said. Or “you’re out at the pub and someone accidentally spills their drink. If that’s the case, you can just rinse the device under a tap of water.”
However, Sony cautions that the device’s port covers need to be sealed up tight for its claim to … well, hold water. The phone’s micro-SIM slots, micro-USB and headphone sockets all have little rubber-lined port covers — sort of like the gas tank cover on a car — that must be flipped out for access, as Engadget noted in its review of the Xperia Z phone.
Sony isn’t alone in efforts to provide a sturdier smartphone. China’s Huawei submerged its Ascend D2 phone for the benefit of attendees at the Mobile World Congress, and Kyocera added a water-resistant Hydro smartphone to its line last summer.
Motorola also has options for the water wary, such as the RAZR M, RAZR HD and the RAZR Maxx HD.
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