And now a washable smartphone!

Japanese telecom giant KDDI’s washable smartphone “Digno rafre”, produced by Kyocera at a presentation in Tokyo. Waterproof smartphones have been on the market for awhile.

Japanese telecom giant KDDI’s washable smartphone “Digno rafre”, produced by Kyocera at a presentation in Tokyo. Waterproof smartphones have been on the market for awhile.


Tired of those unsightly smudges and other dirt on your bacteria-laden smartphone?

A Japanese firm says it has the solution with what it describes the world’s first smartphone that can be washed with soap and water.

Waterproof smartphones have been on the market for a while. But telecom company KDDI says its new “Digno rafre” phone — to be launched in Japan next week — is the only one that can withstand a soapy bath.

“Our development team washed the smartphone more than 700 times to test its durability,” a company spokesman told AFP.

An online commercial aimed at proving its credentials features a child dropping the phone onto a plate of food topped with ketchup.

His mother assures her shocked family that those red globs are nothing to worry about as she soaps up the phone under a running tap.

The 21,600 yen ($175) gadget is mainly aimed at parents who want to keep their smartphones clean for their small children, a KDDI spokesman said.

But he also cautioned that only certain types of foamy soap could be used on the device, which will only be sold in Japan for now.

Smartphone market seen as cooling

Global smartphone sales growth will cool to single digits for the first time ever amid a slowdown in China, a report from Washington quoted a new market forecast as saying.

The research firm IDC said it expects worldwide smartphone shipments to grow 9.8 percent in 2015 to a total of 1.43 billion units.

The forecast was updated to reflect slower growth in many Asian markets, Latin America and western Europe. The cooling is expected to continue through 2019, IDC said.

One key market in focus is China, which will be hit by an economic slowdown and is largely saturated.

“IDC maintains its view that China has largely become a replacement market,” the new forecast report said.

The strongest growth will come from the Middle East and Africa, with gains of nearly 50 percent, overtaking other emerging economies such as India and Indonesia.

“With the smartphone market finally slowing to single-digit growth, maintaining momentum will depend on several factors,” said IDC analyst Ryan Reith.

“The main driver has been and will continue to be the success of low-cost smartphones in emerging markets. This, in turn, will depend on capturing value-oriented first-time smartphone buyers as well as replacement buyers.”

In some emerging economies replacement cycles will be less than the typical two-year rate, “mainly because the components that comprise a sub-$100 smartphone simply do not have the ability to survive two years,” Reith said.

“Offering products that appeal to both types of buyers at a suitable price point will be crucial to maintaining growth and vendor success.”

IDC said Android is likely to remain dominant this year with a market share of 81.2 percent while Apple captures 15.8 percent of the market. It expects Windows Phone to hold just 2.2 percent of the market and other operating systems 0.8 percent.




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