Kyocera Digno Rafre Is a Washable Smartphone for Germophobes

Seeing as how most of the time we tend to handle our smartphones without caring whether our hands are clean or not, it’s no surprise that these devices are often likened to keyboards and compared to toilet seats in terms of the germs they carry. Digno Rafre was built with this exact problem in mind.

Kyocera collaborated with KDDI to make Digno Rafre, the world’s first soap-proof smartphone a reality. Just to put things into perspective, as to how dirty smartphones really are, researchers from consumer group Which? concluded back in 2013 that these mobile devices carry up to 20 times more germs than toilet seats. That’s a really disturbing thought, considering how often we keep them in our hands. Waterproof handsets are no longer a novelty in Japan, as Sony, one of the country’s biggest players in this industry, has been designing its flagships that way for a few years now. However, Kyocera thought it’s about time to step up the game and make one of its devices soap-proof.

So if a device is waterproof, what could stop people from soaping them up? It turns out that the waterproofing isn’t enough to withstand the scrubbing they’d have to go through in order to get rid of bacteria. Digno Rafre gets along well with soap, so provided that it gets washed in advance, it could be even be used in a kitchen, without having to worry about food ingredients getting infested with germs. More than that, the display is said to work even when wet, and while that might point out in the direction of a resistive panel, the manufacturer hasn’t confirmed that.

In terms of specs, Digno Rifre is an 10.1 mm thick device running Android 5.1 on a 5-inch HD display. It sports a 13 MP rear camera and a 3,000mAh battery, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage that can be furthermore expanded using a microSD card.

The following video puts an emphasis on the smartphone’s most important feature, that of surviving without any problems a soap wash.

Kyocera even made a video ad to exemplify a real-world scenario when a soap-proof smartphone could come in hand. It’s great to see that after the handset makes contact with the cake, the mother grabs it and gives it a good scrub with soap and water. However, more importantly than what happened to the phone after it landed on the cake is what happened to the cake itself. Real germophobes would get rid of it in its entirety, and not just of the part that got in contact with the phone.

Digno Rafre, the world’s first washable smartphone, may get well with soap and water, but if you’re planning to get one, it’s probably better not to put it in the dishwasher, as I’m not sure it could survive that.

KDDI will start selling the device next Friday, and the JPY 57,420 ($465/€440) doesn’t make it an immediate choice, given that there’s no word on what type of chipset it uses.

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