Smartphones are dirty objects. Many of us carry our phones everywhere we go, and yes I do mean everywhere. They go from the restroom to the kitchen to the dining room, into coffee shops. We hold them up to our faces when we have a cold, and we may even pass them around other people. Sometimes we drop them and put them straight back into our pocket: it’s no surprise that smartphones pick up dirt and worse very quickly, and are an easy way for microbes to transfer from person to person via our pocket, purse or bag. Surprisingly, given how easy it is for a smartphone to pick up disease and pestilence, there are relatively few cleaning products available for handsets. We have seen some launched to moderate success, but it seems that many smartphone customers take a view of “if it doesn’t kill me, it’ll make me stronger.”
Whilst one of the advantages of a waterproof smartphone may seem that it can be washed clean, the reality is that most waterproofing technologies are simply not designed for the device to be scrubbed clean, but instead can survive immersion into cool fresh water. Adding anything else to the mix such as heat or soap technically invalidates the warranty. Enter the new Japanese DIGNO Rafre KY V36 smartphone, designed with keeping the device clean in mind. The Rafre is built by Kyocera and has been designed to survive going anywhere with the customer – including stepping into the bath (providing the plugs are firmly attached over the device ports). Being built by Kyocera, the Rafre has been through a raft of US military standards encompassing shock, vibration and extremes of temperature and is certified IP58 resistance to dust and water ingress. Furthermore, Kyocera have given the device a self-healing scratch coating, meaning that light scratches are healed over time.
For the smartphone side of things, the Rafre comes with a 5.0-inch, 720p, waterproof screen that’s usable with wet fingers. There’s 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal storage, plus a MicroSD card for memory expansion. There’s a 13MP rear camera and a 2MP front facing for video calling from, ah, anywhere including the bath tub. Sound to the ear comes via Kyocera’s Smart Sonic Receiver technology. The device runs Android 5.1 Lollipop and is kept powered up by a 3,000 mAh battery. Connectivity includes Category 4 LTE, NFC, Infrared and a Japanese 1seg TV tuner. The device is launching this month at a cost of around $465 through Japanese carrier KDDI and will be available in white, pink and blue with a range of accessories including a rubber duck stand.