April 9, 2012

Clever Waterproof iPhone Case Obsoleted By Software Update

Clever Waterproof iPhone Case Obsoleted By Software Update

The clever camera butons on this case are broken by the iOS 5.1 update

You know what? You could probably do a blog about only iPhone cases and you’d still have something worth reading. Provided that the world keeps coming up with cases like this super-specialized iPhone Scuba Case, an underwater shell which gives you access to the camera app as you dive, that is.

The sealed plastic case costs $ 85 and is good down to 30 meters (100 feet). There’s a wrist strap to stop you losing it to Davy Jones’ locker, and three buttons on the front. And the placing of these buttons turns out to be rather ingenious.

One button hits the iPhone’s own home button, letting you wake it, trigger Siri and do anything else you can do with the home button. Two buttons above let you tap the camera shortcut icon on the lock screen, and also to toggle between the video and stills camera in the app. And the top center button takes the shot.

It’s very clever, but the recent update to iOS 5.1 makes the case completely obsolete. IPhones now have a sliding button to access the camera from the lock screen, so this case won’t work at all.

A shame, as it’s a clever idea otherwise.

[Via Andrew Liszewski]

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Charlie SorrelCharlie Sorrel sits in his gadget nerve-center in Barcelona, Spain, and spits out words about  various weird plastic widgets while the sun shines outside his iCave. Previously found at Wired.com’s Gadget Lab covering cameras, power cables and sneaking in as much Apple-centric coverage as he could, Charlie spends his rare moments outside perched atop a bicycle and snapping photos. You can follow him on Twitter via @mistercharlie

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Cult of Mac

Fujitsu’s Waterproof 6.7mm Smartphone Is The First Android Phone I’ve Ever Loved [MWC 2012]

Fujitsu’s Nameless, Waterproof, 6.7mm Smartphone Is The First Android Phone This iPhone User Has Ever LovedFujitsu’s Nameless, Waterproof, 6.7mm Smartphone Is The First Android Phone This iPhone User Has Ever Loved

BARCELONA, MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS 2012 — Fujitsu’s made the first Android phone that I, as an iPhone lover, found myself drooling over… which makes it a doubly good thing that the phone in question is waterproof. And not just waterproof! As thin and light and as perfect in the hand as a dream.

The only problems? Because of Fujitsu’s bizarre way of selling their devices, this phone, which has been on sale in Japan for months, doesn’t even have a set name. And forget about getting one Stateside. How does a company make a phone this beautiful and then have no idea how to market it?

The phone in question is called different things by different carriers in Japan, China and Taiwan. In fact, in a move that strikes me as downright perverse for a company that has made a phone this beautiful, Fujitsu doesn’t even put their name on the device.

And what’s that device called? Fujitsu will only call it the unremarkable Ultra Slim 6.7mm Waterproof Smartphone. And, in fact, the phone does exactly what it says on the tin.

Fujitsu’s Nameless, Waterproof, 6.7mm Smartphone Is The First Android Phone This iPhone User Has Ever Loved

It’s not the specs of Fujitsu’s phone that made me go wild. In fact, they’re sub-part pretty much across the board, at least according to the standard of the top-of-the-line 2012 smartphones blazing up Mobile World Congress. It’s running an obsolete version of Android, Gingerbread 2.3. It only has a single-core processor (albeit running at 1.4GHz). The 4-inch display is a paltry 800×480 AMOLED, the camera a mere 5.1MP, the battery life about 6.5 hours of 3G talktime. Attached to any other phone, you’d blah.

But when Fujitsu says this thing is thin and ultralight, they’re not kidding. It’s the thinnest phone I’ve ever seen: a 6.7mm, 105 gram wafer of a device that manages to be both light and yet feel perfectly balanced. I’ve handled a lot of smartphones in my time, yet this is the first one that has felt better than an iPhone in my hand.

Fujitsu’s Nameless, Waterproof, 6.7mm Smartphone Is The First Android Phone This iPhone User Has Ever Loved

This is a phone that is as effortless to carry around as a thought. And that’s just the thing: it’s specs are actually just fine, and it feels plenty fast, except when judged against phones that tow the current Android line of being the size of a paperback novel.

Fujitsu’s made a great phone here just in managing to cram this sort of performance into a device that is a third as thick as the iPhone 4S, already a supremely thin device. But the technical craftsmanship is just out of this world.

I’ve already mentioned how great the device feels in the hand — something more akin to having someone lightly press their palm against yours than the usual thick weight of a phone — but what truly impressed me was that it did so without sacrificing toughness. The chassis is made of plastic, sure, but the display isn’t: it’s good old Corning Gorilla Glass, just like the iPhone.

Even better? This phone is waterproof.

Fujitsu’s Nameless, Waterproof, 6.7mm Smartphone Is The First Android Phone This iPhone User Has Ever Loved

One of Fujitsu’s huge kicks at this year’s Mobile World Congress is showing that their devices can operate underwater. Having once ruined a phone by dropping it in the toilet, I’ve been intrigued by this technology a lot during Mobile World Congress, having spoken to many of the purveyors of waterproof solutions to figure out how this stuff works. Across the board, it’s usually accomplished by a superhydrophobic coating of some kind, either applied to just the outside of the device, or to the inside of the device as well. And I was told as recently as Sunday that we wouldn’t see any phones on the market that used superhydrophobic coatings until at least later this year.

So the fact that Fujitsu is selling a waterproof phone now — and, in fact, have been showing one operating in a tank of water for the last three days — piqued my interest. I asked Fujitsu what technology they were using to accomplish this: HzO? LiquiPel? Their own custom coating.

I wasn’t prepared for their answer: they’re not using any coating. Fujitsu’s using proper, old-fashioned gaskets and excellent build quality to make sure that all of the ports and crevices are sealed up tight. Amazing.

I absolutely love this phone, which makes it even more maddening that it’ll probably never come to the States. Fujitsu says they’re intending on coming to the United States and Europe soon, and are talking to the carriers, but it’s still a ways off.

What I don’t understand is how Fujitsu can make a phone this great, this solidly built, and then just completely fail at marketing it. If Apple had made this, they’d give it a beautifully evocative name — the iPhone Aqua? — and make sure everyone on earth knew that they’d made it. Fujitsu? Not only are they barely taking credit for it, they didn’t even give their amazing new phone a name. Jesus, guys. Get a clue.

(Via Cult of Android.)

The iPad 3 Won’t Be Waterproof, But The iPhone 5 Probably Will Be [MWC 2012]

Cult of Mac

The iPad 3 Won’t Be Waterproof, But The iPhone 5 Probably Will Be [MWC 2012]

The iPad 3 Won’t Be Waterproof, But The iPhone 5 Probably Will Be [MWC 2012]The iPad 3 Won’t Be Waterproof, But The iPhone 5 Probably Will Be [MWC 2012]

BARCELONA, MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS 2012 — Forget a bigger screen or LTE. Ask anybody who has ever dropped their iPhone in a sink, puddle or toilet what they want from the iPhone 5 and waterproofing is number one on the list.

The good news is that there are now a number of companies who are bringing to market superhydrophobic technologies that will help make the soggy iPhone or iPad a thing of the past. Don’t expect a waterproof iPad 3, but an iPhone 5 by the end of the year isn’t just possible, it’s probable.

Apple has long been exploring new technologies that will help them make their devices more resilient to water damage. With the iPad 2, Apple employed a new jack design that helped protect the tablet’s internal components from moisture. They also moved away from using internal moisture indicators to detect water damage, seemingly in response to criticism that they were too easy to set off, especially in humid climates.

The next step is obviously making a device totally waterproof. At this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, there are two companies slugging it out to make your future devices waterproof: HzO and Liquipel.

Apple fans know HzO after this year’s CES when an HzO rep famously said that Apple was talking to them about making all their iPhones waterproof, so we know Cupertino is interested. When we talked to a HzO at their Showstoppers booth on Sunday night, they were far more evasive; however, they still seemed to indirectly confirm they were in on-going talks with Apple.

“We have agreements in place with all of our partners preventing us from talking about upcoming devices,” HzO’s director of marketing & sales Rick Peterson told Cult of Mac when asked if they were working with Apple on waterproofing future iPhones and iPads.

Asked about whether or not the iPad 3 could be waterproofed using similar technology to HzO’s, Peterson was more upfront.

“In general, it takes at least six months or more from signing a deal with a partner to the release of a device using our technology,” Peterson told Cult of Mac. “No one was even talking about this technology six months ago, so it’s going to take a while for the first phones shipping with HzO to reach market. We hope to see some of them announced this week at Mobile World Congress, and some of these will be shipping later in the year.”

That makes HzO’s technology extremely unlikely to be found in the iPad 3, but the timetable is right for the iPhone 5, which will likely arrive in autumn later this year.

In the meantime, anyone who wants a waterproof iPhone, iPad or Mac should look to there’s Liquipel, another company that is trying to waterproof your gadgets.

They have also been tipped as a possible partner to make the iPhone 5 impervious to H20. However, unlike HzO, Liquipel’s superhydrophobic coating can be applied to any device for just $ 59, and doesn’t need to be part of the manufacturing process.

That means that for just $ 59, the iPhone rattling around in your pocket can be just as waterproof as the iPhone 5 will probably end up being. And unlike the iPhone 5, Liquipel can get your waterproof iPhone to you in less than a week. And the iPad 3 comes out next month, Liquipel can make it waterproof too. Aren’t after market solutions grand?

Liquipel Coating Will Make Your iPhone Waterproof Without A Case

Cult of Mac

iPhone 5 & Galaxy S III To Ship With Waterproof Coating From Liquipel [Rumor]

iPhone 5 & Galaxy S III To Ship With Waterproof Coating From Liquipel [Rumor]

Remember that impressive Liquipel waterproof coating for smartphones and mobile devices that was being shown off at CES? Well, according to a previously reliable source, it’ll soon be a feature present on Apple’s long-awaited iPhone 5, and Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S III.

The source, for Today’s iPhone, is said to be “well-placed” within one of the U.K.’s top independent phone retailers, and reportedly provided the correct release dates for the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S before their launch. However, he provides the “latest whisperings with a side of caution,” the report notes.

He claims that Apple’s next-generation iPhone, widely believed to be called the iPhone 5, will be water repellant thanks to the incredibly impressive Liquipel coating that was on show at CES back in January. But it may not be the first device to get it. Samsung’s next flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S III, will also feature the same technology, he claims.

But the feature isn’t just another selling point, according to the source: “Both will have had Liquipel treatment as they’ll be altering the working on the insurance.” Though he did know know what these changes would be exactly.

You may be quick to dismiss the claims because they come from a U.K. retailer and not the CEO of Liquipel, but there could well be some truth in the rumor. After all, liquid damage is one of the top causes of insurance claims, and manufacturers would undoubtedly like to rule it out.

What’s more, we already know that HzO, another company that provides a waterproof coating for mobile devices, was in talks with smartphones manufacturers — namely Apple and Samsung — to get their technology onto the latest devices. In fact, Samsung was reportedly “very excited” by the product.

When we first saw how impressive these waterproof coating from both Liquipel and HzO are, we immediately envisioned future smartphones shipping with this technology as standard. However, I must admit, I wasn’t expecting to see it so soon.

(Via Cult of Android.)

Cult of Mac

This Waterproof iPad Bag Is Badass Enough For Navy Seals

This Waterproof iPad Bag Is Badass Enough For Navy Seals

Watershed is a company based in North Carolina that makes a variety of waterproof bags, including a range of military backpacks.

It has an iPad tote bag called the Grid Tablet that is used by none other than the Navy Seals.

The $ 97 Grid Tablet bag is seriously waterproof. It can withstand depths of 300 feet, or it can be filled with air to give it buoyancy.

The Navy Seals uses a camouflage version of the Grid Tablet, said WaterShed’s Justyn Thompson. The Seals are asking Watershed to design a special security strap system for the iPad, which will allow them to strap the device to soldier’s bodies or vehicles and keep it secure. They want another feature too, but Thompson said its a secret. He’s working on a prototype.

Watershed has been making Drybags bags for the past 16 years. It uses its ZipDry seal to make air-tight, water-proof bags for outdoor adventurers. The bags are simple but well made. They are constructed from embossed polyurethane, which is super strong. The ZipDry closes like a plastic lunch bag.

This Waterproof iPad Bag Is Badass Enough For Navy Seals

Traci Dauphin

Traci Dauphin is the Managing Editor at Cult of Mac. She keeps the trains running on time. Traci also writes product reviews and shoots great galleries of events like Macworld.

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Cult of Mac

Apple could water-proof future devices with HzO technology

By Slash Lane

Published: 01:16 PM EST (10:16 AM PST)
HzO, the maker of a “WaterBlock” technology shown off at last week’s Consumer Electronics Show, has said it is in talks with Apple about using its material in future devices, including the iPhone.

HzO was promoting its nano-scale film barrier at CES last week, pitching it as a potential solution to waterproof expensive electronic equipment. One of their demonstrations included submerging an iPhone into water, and having it remain in proper working order.

While speaking to attendees at the show, officials with HzO said that Apple is among the companies that have shown interest in the water repelling technology, according to Pocket-lint. Company officials said Apple was interested in making a future iPhone waterproof, potentially with a sixth-generation model expected to be released later this year.

“We expect HzO to be in next season’s phones,” the company reportedly said.

In addition to Apple, its rival Samsung is also said to have shown interest in HzO’s technology. The company said it showed a Samsung executive a waterproofed Galaxy S smartphone, and that company officials were “really excited” by what they saw.

HzO’s WaterBlock technology protects the insides of devices on a molecular scale. It has been used in demonstrations to protect a number of Apple products, including the iPhone 4S, iPads and iPods, after the material has been applied to the devices in a vacuum deposition process.

The company says that WaterBlock is a non-toxic, organic material that is safe for people to use. It also doesn’t change the aesthetics of a device or add any weight.

The technology is intended for “accidental encounters” with moisture, meaning use in deep waters or being submerged for an extended period of time is not recommended. However, HzO coated devices have reportedly been immersed in water for “many continuous hours,” and they continue to work fine.

“The technology is designed to protect against failure due to jumping in a pool and forgetting your phone was in your pocket, or dropping your iPod in the sink while doing dishes, or getting caught in a torrid rain storm and getting soaked, or leaving your smartphone in your pants when they go through the wash,” the company said.


HzO Says Apple Is Interested In Making All iPhones Waterproof Using Their Magic Coating

There’s no shortage of waterproof coating coming to market that Apple could potentially slather future iPhones in, making water damage all but a thing of the past.

After CES, though, if you wanted to take bets about which company would end up landing the deal, money would rest on HzO, who not only claim that their WaterBlock superhydrophobic coating is better than the competition’s… but Apple’s interested.

HzO told Pocket Lint:

We showed the Samsung Chairman the technology with a Samsung Galaxy S that we had coated with HZO and he couldn’t believe his eyes,” a representative of the company told us. “Samsung is really excited by the tech.”

The company has told us that they are also talking to Apple as well, hoping to be able to let Apple make the iPhone 5 waterproof.

“We expect HZO to be in next season’s phones,” HZO told Pocket-lint rather confidently.

Is this guy for real? Well, Apple did have over 250 employees at CES, prowling for new techs to slurp up. It’s possible one of them stopped by the HZO booth, but whether they’re actually looking for a deal or just nodded politely and did their best to seem interested… well, that’s the question, isn’t it?

(Can’t find Similar Posts)

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is news editor here at Cult of Mac, and has also written about a lot of things for a lot of different places, including Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, Gizmodo, Kotaku, Lifehacker, AMC, Geek and the Consumerist. He lives in Cambridge with his charming inamorata and a tiny budgerigar punningly christened after Nabokov’s most famous pervert. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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Cult of Mac

Liquipel Coating Will Make Your iPhone Waterproof Without A Case

Liquipel Coating Will Make Your iPhone Waterproof Without A Case

No one enjoys slapping a case on their iPhone. They add weight, extra bulk, and almost always ruin the beautiful look of your device. If you want to protect it, however, there’s no other way.

Or is there? A company called Liquipel claims to make your iPhone waterproof without a case. It uses a special water resistant “nano” coating which repels water, allowing you to actually submerge you device into a bucket of juice — naked — without killing it.

That’s right — this doesn’t just protect your device from the odd splash, but from a whole bucket of water, as seen in the image above snapped by TUAW. If you look closely, you’ll notice an iPhone (without a case) within a cylinder of water, displaying a photo without any problems.

If the image isn’t enough, check out Liquipel’s demonstration video below, which shows an iPhone 4S submerged in water, functioning normally.

The downside to Liquipel is that this isn’t just a coating you can purchase and apply yourself. You have to send your device off the Liquipel and have them apply it for you. It takes 1-2 days and it’ll cost you $ 59.

However, the company is hoping that in future, it can work directly with manufacturers to have Liquipel applied to mobile devices during the manufacturing process, so that it’s already on your device when you purchase it.

Liquipel looks very impressive, and though it may seem a little pricey, it could potentially save you hundreds in water damage repairs.

Cult of Mac

Liquipel – Can Waterproof Your iPhone Without A Case!

Liquipel claims to make your smartphone water resistant by bonding it inside and out with a “nano” coating which repels water. While this isn’t for deep sea diving, it appears to be an ideal solution if you are clumsy or happen to be around water quite a bit. In the image below, I snapped a pic of a tissue paper coated with Liquipel technology. The tissue is impervious to water absorption, acting more like wax paper. Pretty neat stuff.

(LIQUIPEL currently is not a publicly traded company)

The downside (for now) is that you’ll have to send your device off to Liquipel for a few days for them to coat it. A rep I spoke to said they are hoping to work directly with manufacturers to integrate their coating before you buy a phone. In that case, you’d buy a water resistant phone automatically, eliminating the need for a LifeProof case or OtterBox if you’re just going to have your phone by the pool. I’m hopeful Apple will license or acquire this tech and implement it as soon as possible. While it won’t help with gravity, Liquipel certainly seems capable of preventing those spills and splashes that we’re all accustomed to — the ones which make us cringe or, at worst, place our iPhones in a sealed container filled with dry rice overnight (and prayer, for the devout).

Currently the Liquipel coating costs $ 59 for a 1-2 day turnaround for coating your phone. While the iPhone is certainly supported, it isn’t the only smartphone you can protect. But really, if you have one of those other phones, is it worth it? I kid. Check out Liquipel’s YouTube videos for more of this product in action. Here’s hoping Apple shows some interest in using the material soon — I’d love my iPhone 5 to be water resistant.


TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Today At Cult Of Android: Google Fights Fragmentation, 8″ Waterproof Tablet, And More…

Today At Cult Of Android: Google Fights Fragmentation, 8” Waterproof Tablet, And More…
What’s this? Android news on Cult of Mac?! Who the hell cares?! Maybe you don’t, maybe you do. Point is: these are a few of the popular topics going on in the Android world today. Maybe you’d like to know what the competition is up to, or perhaps your aunt received a Kindle Fire she needs to update. Regardless of the reason, having a resource such as Cult of Android allows you to learn more about what’s going on in the ecosystem powered by the world’s leading mobile OS.

Google Fights Fragmentation: Any Android 4.0+ Device With The Android Market Now Requires Unmodified Holo Theme

Android 4.0 was created to help unify Android across all devices. Yesterday, Google took that goal of unification one step further. From here on out, any device running Android 4.0 with the Android Market, will require the inclusion of the unmodified Holo theme family. The Holo theme family consists of the themes Theme.Holo, Theme.Holo.Light, and Theme.Holo.Light.DarkActionBar. You can see examples of these three themes in the above image. These requirements will help better control the rampant “fragmentation” of Android and will allow manufactures to continue using their own custom themes, while providing a familiar experience. More…

Google Acquires Another 200+ Patents From IBM

As the ongoing patent arms race continues, Google has acquired a few extra weapons courtesy of IBM. Just before the end of 2011, Google scooped up another 200+ patents from IBM, bringing the total of IBM patents acquired to just over 2000. Of course not all these patents are mobile related, but there are a few covering VOIP, NFC, and a “computer phone.” This just continues the steps Google has been taking to increase its patent portfolio and readying itself for the inevitable patent troll 2.0 that 2012 will bring. More…

The Android Market Passes 400,000 Apps, Doubles Apple’s Growth In Just 4 Short Months

The Android Market saw staggering growth in 2011 and thanks to some tracking done by Distimo, we have a better look at how the numbers play out in comparison to Android’s top competitor Apple. According to Distimo, the Android Market has now reached over 400,000 apps, which is still 100K shy of Apple’s 500K+ active apps available according to 148apps metrics. While Android still trails in overall apps, it’s really the rate at which it’s growing that is impressive. More…

Ice Cream Sandwich Debuts On Android’s Platform Distribution Chart

Our favorite tasty treat has finally made it onto the Android platform distribution chart (albeit a tiny sliver of a slice). Google puts out these distribution charts to allow developers to see who’s rocking what, when it pertains to versions of Android. This helps prioritize development and support for future and current apps. This is the first time we’re seeing Android 4.0 (actually 4.0, 4.0.2, and 4.0.3) show up in the chart, and I have to admit, it feels nice to be noticed. There’s a lot of other interesting percentage to note, so let’s take a look at which versions of Android are heading the pack and which are following behind. More…

AT&T To Launch 8″ “WaterProof” Pantech Element Ahead Of CES

While most companies are going to wait until CES to launch their newest products, AT&T appears to have other plans. BGR has received word that AT&T plans to lanuch the Pantech Element this Sunday, ahead of CES. This 8″ 4G LTE device will features an IP578 waterproof rating (which means splash resistant, not waterproof) along with: More…

Sony Ericsson Teases Us With Mysterious Device Pics Before CES

Sony Ericsson will have a strong presence this year at CES and they’re already stirring up some excitement. Over on their Facebook page they’ve posted a small collage of shots showing off a mysterious device(s) that will be unveiled at CES. We’re hoping to see the Sony Ericsson Nozomi or Xperia Arc HD revealed at CES, and some astute Xperia fans have pointed out that the camera button in this pic is on par with what could be an Xperia Arc successor (the HD perhaps). More…

Sega To Debut Virtua Tennis Challenge For Mobile Devices At CES

There’s going to be plenty of hardware debuting at CES this year, but let’s not forget that software companies will also be in the house. Sega is one such company, and they are planning to debut their Virtua Tennis Challenge for mobile devices, specifically the Sony Xperia Play. Sega has only recently broken into the mobile gaming world, but they have every intention of having a bigger presence in the near future. More…

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