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Watch: A Japanese company has invented a smartphone that you can wash

Kyocera
A gift for germaphobes.
  • Olivia Goldhill
By Olivia Goldhill

Science reporter

This article is more than 2 years old.

If you’ve ever wanted to give your smartphone a good scrub with soap and water, then you’re in luck: A Japanese company has invented a smartphone that can be thoroughly washed.

Kyocera said it created the device, called Digno Rafre, by developing “better sealing” for the phone. It will go on sale in Japan next week for ¥57,000 ($460), but there are currently no plans to sell the phone elsewhere.

As the phone works while wet, it could be handy for people who want to take their device into the bath. But the most practical use of a washable smartphone is to maintain cleanliness.

While dunking your phone may sound strange, phones can carry extremely high levels of bacteria. One Wall Street Journal investigation, which sent eight phones off for lab testing, found abnormally high numbers of coliforms, a bacteria indicative of fecal contamination. Meanwhile British watchdog Which? found more bacteria on the dirtiest smartphone tested than on an office toilet seat.

The phone isn’t particularly high tech in other ways—it has Android 5.1 and has a 13MP rear camera—but it will certainly be appreciated by any germaphobes.

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