Sony Corporation (NYSE:SNE) has announced a water-resistant smartphone which can be used in the bath or shower without suffering damage.
The new Xperia Z, which can record HDR (high dynamic range) video, can also be used to watch videos or send messages whilst showering.
The device was announced on Tuesday at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), in Las Vegas.
The handset has a 5 inch (12.7cm) screen, and is capable of submersion in water up to one metre (3.3ft) deep for up to 30 minutes.
“If you want to sit in the bath and watch an HD movie, this is the device for you,” said Sony Corporation (NYSE:SNE) mobile executive Steve Walker.
“You can take it in the shower if you want, or more usefully if you get it dirty you can wash it under the tap.”
Walker also mentioned that about 1 in 10 people have dropped their phones down a toilet at some point – something the waterproofing would successfully guard against.
The trade-off of the phones being waterproof is that its various ports, such as the headphone socket, all feature protective plastic covers that must be unclipped before it is possible to use them.
One analyst said the phone was an evidence of progress for Sony Corporation (NYSE:SNE) mobile, but that the company “still had a mountain to climb.”
And although the water-resistant feature may seem novel to US and European markets, it is fairly commonplace for smartphones in Japan.
The company posted had a loss for the year of 56.7bn yen ($5.7bn) in May last year, and continued to lose money in the following quarters.
Sony Corporation (NYSE:SNE) announced that it was taking control of the smartphone unit, which was previously a joint venture with Ericsson – in October 2011.
Ben Wood, an analyst at CCS Insight, noted that things are looking up for Sony’s mobile division, and the company recently passed HTC Corp (TPE:2498) and became the third best-selling smartphone brand in the UK
“In isolation this looks like a very strong product and it’s the most attractive Xperia phone that I have seen for a very long time,” he said.
“But we don’t know what this device is going to be competing with this year.
“Until we see the next Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) flagship device and other top-end phones at Mobile World Congress in February it’s hard to know how it will do.”
Despite today’s good news, Sony Corporation (NYSE:SNE)’s shares suffered and were down by 2.46 percent to $10.70.
CES 2013 has also seen a number of other high profile companies making announcements. Samsung unveiled a voice-controlled TV, beating the long awaited and expected Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) TV to the post. Intel announced $599 touch ultrabooks and low power processors, and Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) announced that they will offer Windows Phone 8 devices.