Raise your hand if any of the following has happened to you.
- Your iPhone is your workout companion that you strap to your arm for daily runs, and you've been known to perspire profusely on occasion and your excessive sweat has seeped into your gadget, ruining it.
- Your cat has a mind-boggling fascination with knocking over cups, but only when full of water, and the most recent instance drenched your iPhone.
- Your inebriated pals thought it was a dandy idea to overpower you and toss you into the pool at the last party without giving you a warning and a chance to empty out the contents of your pockets, which included your iPhone.
Sadly, such occurrences are all too common, and high-priced casualties result, which is why Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) has multiple liquid-damage sensors built into the iPhone, since liquid damage escapes warranty coverage.
But according to a recent Pocket-lint report, water damage may soon be a thing of the past. Apple is supposedly in talks with small Utah-based company HzO, which has pioneered its WaterBlock technology to protect gadgets from H2O.
The technology uses a nano-scale film barrier that repels water and can be applied to the guts of gadgets. It would need to be applied during manufacturing, as opposed to aftermarket installation. WaterBlock was so impressive it also garnered the attention of other smartphone makers, including Samsung and Motorola Mobility (NYSE: MMI ) , even though Motorola's new RAZR uses its own Splash Guard nanotechnology.
HzO was on display this month at the Consumer Electronics Show and even took home the CES Innovations Design and Engineering Award. Who stands to gain if HzO inks a contract? While HzO remains a small, privately held company, two of its investors are publicly traded.
Nanotechnology venture-capital company Harris & Harris (Nasdaq: TINY ) counts HzO in its portfolio and was quick to point out the award its investment grabbed at CES. Gadget accessory maker ZAGG (Nasdaq: ZAGG ) also forked over $7 million recently for an equity stake in the company and currently is the largest equity owner of HzO. There are other investors, but these are the only two that the average Joe can get his hands on. If HzO achieves certain milestones, investors will pony up another $4.5 million.
ZAGG will also do what it can to help with distribution and marketing, helping HzO roll out the first HzO-coated consumer devices.
If HzO's WaterBlock can take off, ZAGG and H&H will have a blockbuster on their hands, and consumers will have one less thing to worry about on theirs. The demos are definitely impressive enough to give this idea some credence, with one clip showing a demonstrator nonchalantly dumping a handful of gadgets into a fish tank, followed by dangling an iPod Touch into the same tank while continuing to pump out tunes to a connected portable speaker.
Watch out, water: The iPhone may be coming for you next.
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