Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The end of the "H2-DOH's...?" Nokia talks of water resistance for handsets. Will this be a new industry standard?


Will all mobile devices soon come with a rain coat?

Water-resistant phones are nothing spanking new: back in the year 2001 at the massive CeBIT trade show, I saw several demos of working handsets submerged in bubbling fish tanks and even phones in Pyrex pots of boiling water. Although robust never caught on as a handset industry norm, I think many of us would have benefited at least once from robust innovation. Weather it be a run in the rain, a day at the beach, or other odd water-related accidents, the comfort of knowing that your personal trusted device can take a splash or two along the way is certainly worth something above the marginal cost to the bill of materials.

Over the past few months, we've seen several nano-tech based coatings with claims of making electronic devices highly resistant to water damage, inside and out. Namely, two solutions that have made the news are Liquipel and WaterBlock, two nano-tech coatings intended to enable devices to withstand the elements in this always-on era.

Now Nokia is talking up water resistance too. One Nokia executive has been showing the potential of its in-house nanotech research that could lead to much more resilient devices and many blogs are reporting that a Nokia executive in Western Europe has indicated that this could soon be a standard feature on Nokia's Lumia smartphone line. Nokia caught the audience's attention in the past with the potential of nanotech with its "Morph" animated video.

The companies behind Liquipel and WaterBlock are certainly discussing volume discounts with most major handset vendors, so water resistance could soon become the Gorilla Glass of the guts of the device.

It's time to move this beyond a dry run.


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