Kyocera Rafre: New washable smartphone can withstand soap foam, hot water

| Jan 29, 2017 09:04 PM EST

Kyocera’s Rafre is a soap foam-resistant and waterproof smartphone with mid-range specs.

Ultra-high-definition (UHD) touchscreens and augmented reality (AR) cameras are some high-end features of today's smartphones. Scientific studies, however, show that mobile phones are one of the most germ-covered items in homes and offices. Rafre is Kyocera's second soap and water-proof washable Android handset that deals with the problem.

The Japanese company launched its first model in December 2015. That was the DIGNO Rafre with mid-range tech specs. Press materials released last week report the new device is resistant to soap foams so owners could use it to talk or text while in the shower.

The phone's touchscreen also functions when it is wet. This waterproof feature can keep the device safe if owners get caught in a rainstorm. The device is also resistant to hot water so users can make and take calls when in the bathtub.   

This second phone from the electronics company has average specs like the company's first handset. Its main feature, however, is being a soap-proof washable handset.  

Kyocera's Rafre is shipped with Android 7.0 Nougat, according to Tech Crunch. It also includes a 5-inch screen that supports HD resolution (720-pixel), a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera with phase detection autofocus (PDAF), and a 5MP selfie shooter.  

The Rafre has 2 gigabytes of RAM, 16GB of internal storage that can be expanded to 200GB (via microSD card), and a 3,000 milliampere-hour battery.

This washable phone is also bundled with a cooking app with gesture-activated scrolling. It would prevent the touch screen from getting messy while cooking but also reduces the need to use the phone's main feature of water and soap-proof.  

The Rafre will be available in Clear White, Pale Pink, and Light Blue. Kyocera has not announced a price yet.

The new unit is set to launch in February but only in Japan. "Clean freaks" afraid of bacillus and other germs will have to wait to see if the waterproof gadget will get a wider rollout.

In related news, phone maker Vertu has introduced its Constellation luxury smartphone. The Nokia spin-off's new device is a 5-5-inch Android handset that is covered with soft Italian leather, according to TechnoBuffalo

Vertu's new smartphone includes "superior performance technology." That includes a Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM, a 12MP camera, wireless charging support, and Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

Here's a commercial for the Kyocera Rafre:

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