I've lost two cellphones to water, one from a washing machine, one from a wave. I gave up on having more nifty gadgets on my phone so I could get one of the rare waterproof phones on the market, the Casio G'Zone. I really like it, but it is a bit clunky.
Now there's a new product coming on the market that may allow me to get a phone like everyone else and still not worry about water exposure.
The Northwest Maritime Institute, which offers boating related classes at its campus south of Cape Cod, came up with Golden Shellback. The company cautiously call it a splash-proof coating, but then demonstrates it doing things like protecting a iPod Touch video in a bucket of water.
Golden Shellback Waterproof Coating from gCaptain.com on Vimeo.
The coating isn't simply a spray-on application. The clear waterproof polymer coats everything inside, too. So water can wash in and out of the phone or whatever and not hurt it. There are two big catches: it won't be out for a few months and it has to be professionally applied in a vacuum.
The company expects Golden Shellback Waterproof Coating to cost between $50 to $75. You'll probably have to send the company your electronics to get coated, which isn't likely to win a lot of customers, although there is some talk of having local outlets. Nor can the company do camera lenses yet, but they're working on it.
Eventually, if this really works as well as they say it does, I'd bet electronics makers will start using it. Phone carriers will probably not be keen on making phones waterproof. People with rugged phones don't need their insurance as much and may not need a new phone every two years to tie them to a particular service. I'd happily pay for it on my next phone, figuring it's cheaper than the phone company's insurance. And since water had been what's done in two phones, when I buy the insurance it's really for water.
Waterproof your iPhone: Too good to be true?