It is the year 2022. Why don't we have waterproof smartphones yet?

Even though manufacturers have enhanced the ability of smartphones to repel water, they still do not qualify as 'waterproof'. 

In general, a water-repellent product can generally resist water penetration to some extent, but a waterproof product is one that is completely impervious to any moisture.

The Australian Federal Court issued a fine of A$14 million to Samsung Australia last week in order to correct false claims made about the water resistant capabilities of its Galaxy phones in ads. 

Submersing Galaxy phones in pool or sea water can corrode the charging ports and prevent the phones from working, if still wet when charged.

Similarly, in 2020 Apple was fined $15.3 million for falsely claiming that its iPhones are water resistant in Italy due to its misleading claims.

When phones are dropped in water, they can become damaged. 39% of US survey respondents said they dropped their phones in water in 2018. Other surveys have shown similar findings.

The resistance of devices to solids and liquids is measured by a rating system. This rating is known as the Ingress Protection (IP) rating.

There are two numbers on an IP rating. IP68 is a rating indicating protection against solids ranging from 0 (no protection) to 6 (high protection) and water protection ranging from 0 (no protection) to 9 (high protection).

Manufacturers use different benchmarks when evaluating water-resistance. A Samsung IP68-certified phone is water-resistant to 1.5m for 30 minutes in fresh water, but the company warns against using it on beaches or in swimming pools. 

Apple's IP68-rated iPhones can be submerged up to 6m for 30 minutes. However, neither Apple nor Samsung will repair your water-damaged phone under warranty.

Additionally, IP rating tests are conducted in controlled laboratories.Factors such as speed, movement, water pressure, and alkalinity all vary in real-life scenarios, such as boating, swimming, or snorkelling. As a result, judging a phone's water resistance is tricky.

Waterproofing a phone requires a variety of components and techniques. The first line of protection is to form a physical barrier to prevent dust and water from entering. They include the buttons, switches, speakers, microphones, screen, USB port, camera, flash, and SIM card tray.

Water-resistant membranes, silicone seals, rubber rings, gaskets, plastic and metal meshes cover these points and seal them. The circuit board then receives an ultra-thin layer of polymer nanocoating.

However, as components age and deteriorate, so does a phone's water resistance. Apple acknowledges that its phones do not come with permanent water- or dust-resistance.

Water can damage some cameras, but others are more resistant than smartphones to submersion. This is often due to their simplicity.

The internal components of a smartphone are sensitive, fragile, and must be enclosed in a smaller casing. Water-resistant phones are doubly expensive due to all of these factors.

Consumers will also pay more for water-resistant phones. Manufacturers should take this into account - especially since even a small crack can render any waterproofing ineffective.

The exterior of a phone could be coated with water-repellent coating in addition to nanocoating. This technology is being developed for manufacturers.

The circuitry of future phones might also be printed directly onto (waterproof) silicone material, then coated with technologies that repel water.

There is currently no waterproof phone on the market. Take the necessary precautions to make sure your phone dries well. You can also buy a waterproof case or dry pouch to make your phone completely waterproof.

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