It’s barely ten days to the release of the Google Pixel phones and already the disappointment is rolling in. It’s been a bad year for Android. The ultimate flagship for the OS, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 has gone up in flames, literally. To make things worse, Apple came out with, what is turning out to be, an incredible phone. Not only does it have the usual flair and showmanship as its predecessors, but the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are run by the A10 fusion chip. And the chip is so powerful it’s making Intel sweat. The only hope for Android to make a come back is its Pixel devices. And it turns out they aren’t going to be waterproof; not really any way.
Now it’s important to take this with a grain of salt because it isn’t official news. Android Police “caught wind” of it. But there are a couple of things to back up their claim, the principle one being: HTC is manufacturing the Pixel phones, as far as the rumour mill is concerned. The HTC 10 which came out earlier this year, had the same IP53 rating; and it was not marketed as waterproof.
The iPhone 7/7 Plus and the Samsung Galaxy S7/S7 Edge/ Note 7 have an IP67 and IP68 rating, respectively. That stands for International Protection Marketing; the first digit is a dust resistance rating (0-6) and the second is a water resistance rating (0-8). So the aforementioned phones can be submerged in 1-3 meters of water for up to 30 minutes without damage. The Pixel phones rating of IP53 means that there will be almost no dust ingress but only protection against a “spray” of water. To be specific the spray can not exceed the 60 degree angle to the vertical and the pressure of the water should be in the range of 50-150 kPa (7-20 psi). That’s weak.
It’ll affect the advertising of the Pixel phones as well. Samsung made it a point to market the water resistance aggressively by placing their Note 7 phones on a wall dripping with water at the official launch event. Apple showed their iPhone 7 dripping with water in their ads. Both looked insanely cool and beautiful. Google lost out on that opportunity.
This wouldn’t have mattered last year. Heck it wouldn’t have mattered six months ago but the S7, iPhone 7 and Note 7 raised the bar successively even though the latter lost out when it came to safety. On top of this, the Pixel phones are rumoured to cost the same as the iPhone 7 and the S7 ($649). Getting less for more isn’t exactly a popular option.