I once ran over my smartphone with a car. It was the Motorola Backflip courtesy of AT&T - the first Android device on Ma Bell. Although this sort of incident is usually a catastrophic failure on the owner's part, it was premeditated. But that's neither here, nor there. Rugged devices have always interested me because of their originality in the mobile realm, it's just too bad the durability trend hasn't caught on.
I've written countless times about smartphone durability in the face of adversity, also known as daily life. When washing the car and taking out the trash, the last thing you need to worry about is where your smartphone is. When out for a jog, nobody's got time to make sure their smartphone is securely fastened. If it's going to fall, it will fall. And if you get a call for an interview while you're having a shower, water damage is on the agenda.
The truth of the matter is smartphones have reached an intersection where design and durability can be combined. Gone are the times where size and toughness are detrimental to the flagship physique. 2013 is shaping up to be everything I've hoped for.
At CES earlier this year, Sony announced the Xperia Z. At 7.9mm thin, you'd have a hard time believing it was also dust and waterproof had you not seen their relentless demos. With a quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro CPU clocked at 1.5GHz, 2GB of RAM, and a 5-inch 1080p display, all of its extra prowess makes it a hard option to ignore if you live an active lifestyle.
Thankfully, such mentality has not gone unnoticed. Everyone's favorite Korean company, Samsung, is apparently developing a Galaxy S 4 variant with some extra padding. The Wall Street Journal reports that Sammy could be developing an extra durable Galaxy S 4 under the infamous Project J for business and government clients as soon as July of this year.
Samsung's latest flagship is a force to be reckoned with. We recently crowned it the victor against its fatter brother, the Galaxy Note II, in a dogfight. The S 4 ticks the boxes you need to dub a device a hero phone of 2013. And if you add the potential for waterproofing and dustproofing there might be little else to desire.
Aptly titled the Galaxy S 4 Active, Samsung could be onto a whole new market. As popular a device as the Galaxy S 4 may be, the business and government clients are a new market yet to be tapped. This market has traditionally favored other devices, but Samsung's wide influence could, yet again, play to their advantage. Add in Samsung's Enterprise security software, Samsung KNOX, and businesses and government clients might have little else to desire.
Anna recently covered her distaste for the potential of an extremely short timeframe between the Galaxy S 4 and an Active variant, and I completely understand. Had I not heard of the Active variant, I might have already pre-ordered the original model and been up a creek without a paddle.
Yet the perks of a durable device with top of the line specifications have me convinced of what I've been saying all along: durable devices need to make an appearance in 2013 or else the smartphone is not living up to its potential.
P2i has demonstrated that a device coated in its nanotechnology can be submerged underwater for a lengthy period of time without any effect. Mobile World Congress showed us this. This sort of technology is just one way the mobile realm is morphing into a new beast. It's ready for a change and durability could be the smartphone's next calling.
In short, the mobile industry is as ready to lay stagnant as my Backflip was to bear an imminent and painful death. Give the mobile market a choice and it will evolve, but whether or not we are ready for the change has yet to be determined.
Would you be interested in a dust and waterproof Samsung Galaxy S 4? Sound off in the comments below.
Image via Samsunggeeks.