Sometimes a new technology makes you double back, re-check and ask the question – “what the hell is this?”.  Walking around the CES show floor I had such an experience when I saw a man dropping an iPhone 4 into water.  I certainly stopped and asked!

I first heard of this ‘nano-technology’ at the launch of the Motorola Razr smartphone – they were splashing water at the phone, and pouring water onto tissues that would just bead off and never sink in. Amazing. Well this was not splashing, this was dunking.

As it is explained to me, this nano-technology is added to the device in a vapourised form and cured some how – after which an ultra thin layer is covering the phone and the inside of the phone.  After that, dunk away!

Liquipel – the company behind it, claimed an ‘IPX’ rating of 7, meaning it could withstand the water for a long period.  According to Liquipel the Razr technology has a lower rating.

Here’s Sam Winkler from Liqupel explaining and demonstrating:

The 90 per cent of exposure to water he refers to in the video relates to the fact that there are people who will push the boundaries, take it scuba diving and more – that ain’t covered!

A little way down the hall, another company “HzO” seemed to have the exact same thing going on!  Anyone feel a patent war coming on?

When questioned, they seemed to be pushing for a new ‘standard’ of measuring this waterproofing level, but were confident they were at or more than IPX 7. Whatever the case, let me tell you it’s stunning.  If I could do without my phone for a while, I’d send it off to be done.

Don’t expect this as an after-market option. Perhaps for corporates with large numbers of phones, but this is aimed squarely at the manufacturers – selling or licensing the technology and putting it into their phones.

Frankly, having seen it, I find it hard to believe this won’t be standard on mobile phones within five years. No more issues if the phone drops into the sink, or stays in your jeans for a wash cycle.