Japan phones built to survive showers, toilet-drops

Feb 29, 2012 by Hui Min Neo
A man places a Panasonic Eluga Power waterproof smartphone in a glass of water during a presentation at the Mobile World Congress on February 28 in Barcelona. Japanese women are so fond of their phones, they even use them in the shower, say manufacturers. This makes waterproofing a must -- also good against rainstorms and accidents while texting on the toilet.

Japanese women are so fond of their phones, they even use them in the shower, say manufacturers. This makes waterproofing a must -- also good against rainstorms and accidents while texting on the toilet.

Panasonic and are touting their waterproof and dust-proof phones as they seek to charm the overseas market at the world's biggest mobile phone show in Barcelona this week.

"In Japan, you can't sell a phone if it's not waterproof. About 90 to 95 percent of all phones sold now are already waterproof," Panasonic executive Taro Itakura told AFP at the Congress.

"Why? This is very unique -- young Japanese women prefer to use their cellphones even when taking their showers," Itakura said.

"Cellphones have become 'must products'."

Panasonic is looking to re-enter the European market after pulling out in 2005 to concentrate on its domestic sales.

"The reason we decided to come back is that there have been a lot of changes in this industry with the introduction of the smartphone," which has become a "global product," he said.

A Panasonic Eluga Power waterproof smartphone is pictured in a glass of water during a presentation at the Mobile World Congress on February 28 in Barcelona. Japanese women are so fond of their phones, they even use them in the shower, say manufacturers. This makes waterproofing a must -- also good against rainstorms and accidents while texting on the toilet.

"In order to survive in this industry as a manufacturer, we, Panasonic, have to be strong in terms of ."

It is not known whether share the Japanese fondness for phoning in the shower, but Itakura hopes they will consider the benefits for chatting in the rain.

A third of damages to phones comes from water, said Florian Sohn, a Panasonic marketing specialist for Europe.

"You may drop the phone in the bathroom, or bring it close to water when you wash your hands or it may fall inside toilets," he said.

Dust-proofing meanwhile can appeal to customers such as construction workers, he added.

Fujitsu, which has a fifth of the Japanese and tablet markets, also sets great store by waterproofing.

"The mobile phone is with us 24 hours a day. It accompanies us to the bathroom, to the shower, or under the rain. So it is a necessity for the phone to be robust," Nobuo Ohtani, Fujitsu corporate senior vice president, told AFP.

While better known abroad for their laptops, the Japanese giant is now also trying to sell phones to Western markets.

In Barcelona, it showcased its range of phones already available in Japan, as well as a new "quad-core" phone with extra processing power.

Besides being waterproof, the also appeared crack-resistant when hammered repeatedly with a falling steel ball.

Ohtani said Fujitsu's smartphones will also offer "human-centric technology" that makes the devices easier to view or hear, a particular advantage for the elderly user.

This technology includes sensors that raise or lower the volume of a call, or even slow down speech if the caller is speaking too quickly.

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User comments : 5

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Vendicar_Decarian
not rated yet Feb 29, 2012
These innovations should make toilet camming much safer.

But how will they connect their telledildonics?

kaasinees
1 / 5 (1) Feb 29, 2012
They are required to be waterproof because of possible tsunamis? I am confused. And how do you replace the battery if it is water proof?
Royale
not rated yet Mar 01, 2012
Rofl, V_D, "telledildonics" is for sure the vocab word of the day. I grant you 150,000 internet points!

On a more serious note, why are we seeing articles about 'new' waterproofing tech that could be used on phones, etc if they've been doing it in Japan already? I thought it was new when i read about it a few months back on physorg...
Deathclock
1 / 5 (1) Mar 01, 2012
how do you replace the battery if it is water proof?


Wow...

So, you think "waterproof" means the thing exists in a sealed plastic bag or something? lol.

I have a 1080p camcorder that is waterproof to 10 meters... battery is accessible like any other electronic device... are you a time traveler from the distant past or something?

chromosome2
not rated yet Mar 04, 2012
I've been frustrated with our lack of waterproof phones in the US for years now. Turns out the Japanese have had them all along. Seriously? How far behind ARE we? @&%(#&%. My next phone will be waterproof. I'll go to Verizon and ask a bunch of questions and then "is it waterproof? nope? next."

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