London - Smartphones are getting smaller, thinner and cleverer - which probably means it’s easier for them slip out of the hand and break, not to mention more expensive to repair or replace.
Now a US technology firm claims to have invented two different ‘skins’ for smartphones to make them nigh-on indestructible.
One is a moisture-proof coating, meaning you could effectively take your phone into the shower. And it wouldn’t be the end of the world if you dropped it in the sink.
The other skin acts as a shock-absorber, which claims to protect the phone from getting damaged and the screen from shattering when dropped. Until now desperate owners of smartphones such as iPhones and Samsung Galaxies, have come up with DIY methods to avoid repair or replacement costs, for example putting a drenched phone in a bag of dry rice in an airing cupboard for several days to draw out the moisture.
Meanwhile repairing a cracked screen on a smartphone requires specialist tools, meaning it has to be sent back to the manufacturer, which can be very expensive.
Now users in the US can have Liquipel’s Watersafe coating applied to their smartphones. The process involves the phone being placed in a vacuum chamber where it is surrounded by a gas which enters every nook and cranny before solidifying to form an invisible moisture-proof coating of nano-particles.
The firm is looking for partners to offer the same service in other parts of the world.
And Liquipel’s shock-absorber skins, which resemble a thin piece of clear plastic, disseminate the force of any impact, protecting the phone’s inside and screen from breaking.
The benefits were demonstrated at the Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas, where a mobile phones were submerged in water and hit with a half-pound steel ball - and survived.
US pop star Pharrell was present to promote the products and admitted he has suffered mishaps with his smartphone in the past and had tried DIY techniques of salvaging it. He said: ‘You go to the old wives’ tales of putting it in rice or on the refrigerator. You can do that but it’s not a 100 per cent guarantee.’
Some manufacturers and retailers in the US and other countries, such as Turkey, are now selling smartphones and tablets with the Liquipel Watersafe coating already applied. The skins are on sale on the internet.