Waterproofing or water resistance is surely an added bonus to a smartphone. This means you won’t have to be too concerned when you bring in your phone with you into the shower, or that you can use your phone while taking a dip in the swimming pool. It’s added protection, but Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun says they won’t be making waterproof phones anytime soon.
In an interview, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun says that there are two overriding reasons why the market will not see a waterproof Xiaomi phone. The first is that water resistance is something that needs to be maintained as the device gets older. This means that as wear and tear happens to your device, the water resistance also suffers. After two or three years, you might not be able to guarantee water resistance anymore because the technology deteriorates with time.
Secondly, Lei Jun says that waterproofing a device will add around 20-30% to the base cost of the product. One of Xiaomi’s strategies has been to offer robust and capable devices at very affordable and aggressive prices. This allows them to undercut the pricing of the bigger names in the industry, such as Samsung, Apple, LG, and HTC. Lei Jun says that if people are willing to pay more for a Xiaomi waterproof phone, they might make it.
Sony, the pioneer of bringing water resistant devices to the Android market, has actually backed out of its water resistant features with its new Xperia X line. It feels like they’ve realized this is bumping up the cost of their product, but something they won’t be able to guarantee in the long run. Would you pay more for a waterproof device?