It appears that Sony is making a rather odd change to its advice regarding the use of its Xperia line of waterproof mobile devices. Over the past few years, the Japanese phone maker has built quite a reputation for producing smartphones with high waterproof ratings. For instance, most of its recent Xperia smartphones have acquired an Ingress Protection rating of IP68 for waterproofing, which is the highest rating ever. But now, the company seems to be saying to users of its phones to refrain from using Xperia devices underwater.
As seen on Sony’s support web page on water and dust protection, the company’s new policy explicitly reminds users not to use the smartphones underwater. It also explained that the IP rating scored by Xperia devices were achieved under certain lab conditions in standby mode, and users would do well not to bring the handsets underwater.
For a better understanding of IP ratings, users should know that a handset that possesses an IP68 rating essentially means that is has been tested via prolonged immersion in fresh water in depths of 1.5 meters up to half an hour long. But as stated in Sony’s text regarding the waterproofing qualities of its Xperia devices, the company does not appear to be confident enough about the IP68 certification of its products, warning its users instead that using its devices underwater could irreparable damage and could lead users to have their phones repaired under warranty. Sony did explain that the laboratory conditions mentioned earlier entailed placing the Xperia devices carefully on containers of water. But in the real world, such as in swimming pools, users may not be as careful in bringing their devices underwater.
But herein lies the confusing part. In its marketing efforts, Sony seems to have no problem highlighting the waterproofing qualities of its devices, even going as far as depicting via promotional images that users can easily take pictures underwater using Xperia smartphones (here is an example pointed out by XperiaBlog).
So what exactly is going on? No one knows for sure (except maybe for Sony), but it might have something to do with warranties. A few users may have already damaged their handsets when they used them underwater, and have tried to get them repaired by Sony under warranty. It is uncertain if these cases are many, but if they are, then Sony may find itself dealing with loads of repair bills. Whatever the case, Sony needs to be clear about its policies, and not convey seemingly contradicting messages.
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