Kyocera Unveils Waterproof Android 4.0 Smartphone at CTIA Wireless 2012

On May 8 Kyocera introduced the Hydro, an Android smartphone that can remain immersed in water for 30 minutes. The Hydro was one of many new smartphones unveiled at the CTIA Wireless 2012 show in New Orleans.

Android smartphones are prepared for a dunk in the sink. At the CTIA Wireless 2012 show in New Orleans, Kyocera Communications has introduced its Hydro waterproof phone as well as the Rise, a model with both a QWERTY keyboard and touch-screen.

The Hydro conforms to the Ingress Protection Ratings IPx5 and IPx7 for water resistance. IPx5 means the phone can withstand water jets spraying 12.5 liters of water for up to three minutes, and the IPx7 indicates users can immerse the phone in a meter of water for up to 30 minutes.

Water or moisture has destroyed more than 82.5 million handsets in the United States, according to a January study by research firm TNS.

"Kyocera Hydro combines a sleek, touch-screen design with water resistance to ensure it can withstand the spills and drops of everyday life," Eric Anderson, senior vice president and general manager of global sales and marketing at Kyocera, said in a statement.

The Hydro is Kyocera's 17th water-resistant phone, according to Anderson. It also incorporates technology from Kyocera's Dura Series of rugged phones.

On Jan. 31 the company introduced another rugged model, called the DuraPlus, which uses the company's Direct Connect push-to-talk functionality. The DuraPlus can also survive in a meter of water.

At the 2012 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, earlier this year, other vendors showed waterproof models. Motorola introduced its Defy Mini waterproof model, and Fujitsu unveiled its Ultra Slim Waterproof Phone.

Both the Hydro and Rise run the Android 4.0, or Ice Cream Sandwich, OS.

Kyocera will make both the Hydro and Rise available in the second half of 2012. The company has yet to announce pricing for the phones or which carriers will offer them.

Kyocera is marketing the Rise to mobile users who are still attached to the tactile QWERTY keyboards but want touch-screens at the same time. The screen slides up to reveal the QWERTY keypad.

"Kyocera Rise is the ideal device for those underserved consumers for whom a touch-screen isn't enough and who demand the familiar tactile feedback of a keypad," said Anderson.

Both the Hydro and Rise feature a 3.5-inch half-size VGA (HVGA) capacitive 480x320 LCD with in-plane switching (IPS). IPS allows the screen to compensate for poor viewing angles or poor lighting conditions.

The Hydro and Rise incorporate a 1GHz MSM8655 Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 2GB of ROM, 512MB of RAM and 32GB microSD memory cards.

As far as network connectivity, the units offer Evolution-Data Optimized (EV-DO) Rev A and 1A Advanced along with WiFi and Bluetooth 2.1.

The phones also feature 3-axis accelerometers, digital compasses, proximity sensors and ambient light sensors for workers in the field.

Although the Kyocera Hydro is waterproof, it's reportedly not fully "rugged." Mobile devices classified as rugged can survive in extreme conditions, such as dust, salt, fog and temperature, and are geared toward workers in fields such as the military, health care and construction.

In addition to the new mobile phones, at CTIA Wireless Kyocera announced it had developed Tissue-Conduction Audio Technology, which delivers sound vibrations directly to the eardrum and works similarly to hearing aids. The company hopes to incorporate the technology into mobile phones in the future.

Sound appears to come from facial tissues and bones as the screen vibrates. The bone-conduction technology could replace the traditional handset earpiece as we know it, Engadget reported.