/ Technology

Want to take your smartphone for a swim?

Waterproof phone

When you use precious gadgets around water, it’s easy to get a bit nervy. One spill in the kitchen while you’re following a recipe app could mean a watery grave for your beloved smartphone. Soon this could all change.

For the past few days I’ve been immersed in the world of Mobile World Congress – a large tradeshow in Barcelona where all the big names in mobile tech show-off their upcoming products.

There were lots of shiny new gadgets on display, but the tech that caught my eye and made me gasp most was P2i’s new waterproofing technology.

A sneak peak at P2i’s dunkable technology

P2i has named this waterproofing technology ‘Dunkable’. And it certainly deserves this epithet. Simply spray an invisible ‘nano-coating’ to the surface of an object to make it totally waterproof.

In the demonstration video below you can see that a tissue coated with the Dunkable spray comes back out of the water totally dry. To me, this is amazing – imagine walking through heavy rain and not actually getting wet!

We saw other waterproof tech at MWC 2013, such as the Sony Xperia Tablet Z. You have to close the ports to prevent water from seeping into the tablet. The problem with this is that once you’ve closed them the ports are very difficult to open, as I found out at the event.

P2i are currently in talks with various manufacturers to apply the coating to phones and tablets during the production stage. This means that waterproof gadgets could be on sale as early as next year.

There are some caveats – there’s likely to be a depth limitation, somewhere around the one metre mark. And there could even be a time limit to how long you can submerge the device as well.

So, have you been waiting for a fully waterproof tablet or smartphone? Or is it another tech gimmick that doesn’t whet your appetite?

Comments
Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

My daughter’s phone slipped out of her pocket and fell into the toilet – never to work again. Not one normally for gimmicks, but this is something very practical – if it works.

Profile photo of Florence Buswell
Member

This sounds brilliant, and if it was something that worked and was affordable I’d be very interested. Would it only be for brand new gadgets at the production stage, or would it be available to use for existing gadgets? Because if so I’d be daubing my gadgets in it quicker than you could say ‘spill’. Imagine never having to worry about coffee near a computer, or the rain ruining your smartphone insurance claim…

Profile photo of Jessica Moreton
Member

Hi Florence,

The P2i product would only be available to manufacturers to apply to new products in the production stage.

However, there were some competitors who sell it directly to us the consumers – I believe you need to send your gadget away to them for treatment. So we could be seeing waterproofing in various forms – which would be great!

Jess.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

Phones manufacturers use telltales to show if a phone has been in contact with water. It would be better to devote their efforts to producing a phone that can be used outdoors when it is raining. I don’t think that a phone that is damaged by use outdoors in the rain is fit for its purpose.

If a phone is dropped in water, that is abuse. If the manufacturers manage to produce phones that will continue to survive this sort of treatment for their working life, that would be great.

Profile photo of Nikki Whiteman
Member

I think this looks great – I’ve never dropped my phone in a puddle or anything, but with smartphones getting pricier and pricier it’s definitely something I’d consider for a bit of peace of mind!

Profile photo of malcolm r
Member

Sony are advertising an MP3 player that you can use when swimming or in the rain. Totally off topic, am I the only person who is irritated by music in dramas, documentaries and other TV programmes. Why is it necessary?

Member
Richard L says:
13 April 2013

To add depth. I think I’ll contact one of the competitors and send of my new HTC one when I get it – they said end of the month they’re getting the next shipment in