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Next generation of smartphones may be waterproof

January 16, 2012 |  8:33 pm

A smartphone is submerged in water.

Waterproof smartphones are on their way, and we say it's about time.

A smartphone can store thousands of songs, photos and videos -- but accidentally spill a glass of water on it, and kaput. You have to buy a new one that will run you anywhere between $200 and $600.

Unacceptable!

Now a company called HzO says it has developed a technology that can change all that. It calls it HzO WaterBlock and says it works by coating the inside of an electronic device with a nano-thin film that has water-repelling properties.

You shouldn't take a phone treated with HzO scuba diving, but if you drop it in the sink while you are washing dishes, or if it accidentally winds up in the washing machine, or if your kid spills a glass of water on it, it should continue to work just fine.

And the best part? Paul Clayson, president of HzO, told The Times that he expects the first consumer electronics treated with HzO WaterBlock to be on the market by this summer.

Hallellujah!

The chemical makeup of WaterBlock is proprietary, but the company says it is a non-hazardous, organic material. It does not alter the look, feel or weight of the phone, and it is applied to the inside of the device -- not the outside.

The idea is not to keep water out, but rather to protect the circuit boards and electronics from any water or debris that gets in.

We asked Clayson how long he thinks it will take before waterproof phones become the norm.

"I think it will take a little bit of time to adopt," he said. "I think it will go in the higher end of consumer applications first, but I think two years from now it will be a ubiquitous offering in consumer electronics."

"Once consumers know it can be done, they will demand that it be offered in all devices," he added.

We wholeheartedly agree.

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-- Deborah Netburn

Image: A smartphone submerged in water at the HzO lab in Salt Lake City. Credit: HzO

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