DryWired coats phones to guard against spills (hands-on)

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February 27, 2013 4:56 AM PST / Updated: February 28, 2013 1:22 AM PST

BARCELONA, Spain--Fear spills and splashes damaging your smartphone no longer. Startup company DryWired believes it has the technology to easily and effectively armor your handset against water and other liquids.

According to the Los Angeles, Calif. based firm, the DryWired technique uses a nano scale monomer material that, when heated forms a gas, then cools to become a water-tight sealant.

A special machine applies the DryWired material to phones and tablets that have been partially disassembled, the idea being that a device's internal components are protected, not only its exterior.

Indeed DryWired claims that after an ordinary phone has been processed, it will be able to meet the rigorous IPX7 standard for water survivability. Essentially, you'll be able to submerge a DryWired device in three feet of water for a maximum of 30 minutes. Not bad at all.

DryWired phones fear no water. Sarah Tew/CNET

Here at MWC 2013, I had the chance to torture some DryWired devices firsthand. I personally dunked a specially treated Samsung Galaxy Note II with no repercussions, other than wetness. I also observed a fully operational iPad sitting for hours in a fish tank, being splashed constantly. Even wilder, a DryWired napkin sat underwater for several minutes yet did not get the least bit soggy.

A napkin that doesn't get waterlogged. Sarah Tew/CNET

Perhaps the most compelling aspect of DryWired technology is that the treatment can be applied after purchase, which puts waterproofing potentially within reach of all phone and tablet owners. Sadly, since DryWired plans to sell its technology to either manufactures or resellers, exactly how much it'll cost to protect a single device is unclear.

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About The Author

Brian Bennett is senior editor for mobile phones at CNET and reviews a wide range of mobile communication products. These include smartphones and their myriad accessories. He has more than 12 years of experience in technology journalism and has put practically anything fun with a micro chip through its paces at some point.