So today we’re continuing our challenge to see if there are any more ways we can make something non-rugged…rugged, or rugged even more rugged! Last time we talked about drop specs, today we’re talking about waterproofing!
Water and dust protection is measured by an “IP” rating and Rugged Handheld PDA’s have always had to be at least IP54, with most being IP64/65 these days. but, we’re seeing more and more smartphones and cheaper phones coming onto the market with higher and higher IP ratings. What gives?
The smartphone/software view!
IP ratings have never really been the issue have they? If you walk around our repair centre here, it’s all cracked screens, damaged cases and warranty work for our South Korean brands! You rarely see anything with water damage and those people who are in high water risk places buy something accordingly. However it is interesting that I can also buy a Motorola Defy with IP67 for £200 but don’t. I go camping for weeks, and use my iPhone outside so whats the problem with a non IP rated phone?
The Rugged View
I think that water and dust especially are very important to protect against and also add up to make a rugged PDA inherently more rugged. Yes we’re seeing all kinds of change in this market with nano treatments that can make any phone waterproof for £30 but at the end of the day there’s no replacement for having a fully IP rated Rugged PDA built from the ground up. Also we would challenge the whole IP scenario here too. There are good PDA’s with rock solid IP ratings. Motorola and Intermec devices for instance seem to perform well above their rated specs for IP. Cheaper devices however might not be up to their spec. This is why we always recommend more rugged devices if you;re working near water. IP is important, it stops dust getting into the device over it’s years (not months) of use, it allows you to work outside with no worries and there are even rugged handheld PDA’s that can be submerged!
We’ll continue the debate next week!