Are you bored of the endless parade of touchscreen slabs that smartphones have become? Do you want a new idea, a strike of genius, something to foam at the mouth for? Then look no further than the Japanese market. The companies there are just scrubbing every assumption we have and building weird products to appeal to their awesome and quirky market, like this Kyocera DIGNO rafre. Let's pretend that we all know how this name is pronounced and move on to the highlight feature of the phone: it's hot water and soap washable.

For realsies.

So many questions. So, so many questions! But before I get to them, I want to point out that every single aspect of the DIGNO rafre's press release announcement was tacked with an asterisk. It's the first hand-soap-washable phone because no one else has claimed their water-resistant phone to be as such. It's hot water resistant for splashes of water up to 43°C (109F), which Kyocera says is bath water temperature but isn't all that hot. It's temperature resistant, vibration resistant (lolwut), and it self heals its back, but all of these are limited to certain conditions. And best of all? The soap washability has been tried with proprietary tests from Kyocera and can not be verified with all kinds of soaps. Oh, and although the tag line is that you can use this while taking a bath, the fine print doesn't recommend submerging it in hot water.

It's so easy to find such an empty niche category and bathe in the glory of being "the world's first" based on your own criteria and with no real explanation as to what it is that you're doing differently. Maybe all waterproof phones are soap-washable but no company has thought of making that ridiculous claim in the first place. Maybe they aren't. No one knows because no R&D employee thought of washing their test unit before.

And now onto the more pressing issues at hand. Did I mention that this phone is soap washable? It is, and that has caused me to spiral into a wormhole of absurd but pressing questions about it:

  1. If an app freezes on your DIGNO rafre, should you run it under hot water to get things working again?
  2. After you finish watching something dirty on your phone, is it mandatory or just recommended to clean it?
  3. Will your Tower Defense game's bases be neutralized by the washing soap's acidity?
  4. Are Japanese phone accessory makers rushing to develop a special soap for the intimate ports of the DIGNO rafre?
  5. Will Kyocera literally soak test future updates to the device?
  6. Is it better to clean a scratched or infected phone with antiseptic soap solutions?
  7. Is it dishwasher safe?
  8. Does the Cashmere White color variant have to go with your delicates?
  9. Will Cheetah Mobile release an update to its Clean Master app that also cleans the outside of the phone?
  10. If this poor Redditor (NSFW) bought a DIGNO rafre, could all of his troubles be rinsed away?

That's it. I'm done with the silliness, but even if you ask Kyocera, they'd tell you that lather is the best medicine.

Press Release

KYOCERA Launches “DIGNO rafre,”

World’s First Hand-Soap-Washable Smartphone

Features soap and hot water resistance newly enabling use while taking a bath

(This product is only available to the Japanese market.)

Kyocera Corporation (President: Goro Yamaguchi) today announced the launch of the new DIGNO rafre smartphone for KDDI Corporation ― the world’s first*1 smartphone with resistance against foaming hand soap*2.

In addition to resistance against shock, water and dust*3, DIGNO rafre features hot water resistance that enables use while washing hands or taking a bath*4. Furthermore, as the back face of the smartphone is coated with a “scratch-healing*5” material that allows everyday minor abrasions to self-heal, the DIGNO rafre can be used in pristine condition for a long time. The new device has an elegant, sleek design with two-tone colors and easy-to-grasp round form which comes in three colors: Coral Pink, Cashmere White and Marine Navy and is part of the new KDDI lineup announced on December 3. 

Model DIGNO rafre
Price To be determined by retailer
Color Coral Pink, Cashmere White, Marine Navy
Sales Company KDDI Corporation,

Okinawa Cellular Telephone Company (Japan only)

 
Development Background

These days our smartphones have become a ubiquitous item that is carried every day. Their uses have dramatically expanded to not only calls and texts but also more immersive uses such as checking recipes during cooking and outdoor uses in harsh environments. Considering where and how often smartphones are carried and used, Kyocera developed this new product which enables users to keep their smartphone clean and pristine.

By utilizing Kyocera’s proprietary waterproof technology and high durability, Kyocera offers the DIGNO rafre equipped with resistance to foaming hand soap*2 and hot water*4.

Main Features

1. Waterproof performance enables cleaning with foaming hand soap

Although soapy water has higher permeability due to its nature of lowering the water surface tension, the DIGNO rafre features improved waterproof performance that can be used with foaming hand soap by utilizing integral molding of the packing parts which have passed Kyocera’s proprietary tests.

2Hot water resistance*4 ideal for use while washing or bathing

In addition to conventional waterproof performance, the DIGNO rafre also possesses resistance to hot water. Furthermore, the new smartphone is equipped with a touch panel display that can be operated even if the screen or your hand is wet, allowing you to enjoy a bath while watching a video or using your device.

3. Scratch-Healing*5 for self-healing from minor abrasions

A coating that allows minor abrasions caused during everyday use to self-heal is applied to the back face of the smartphone, so the DIGNO rafre can be used in pristine condition for a long time.

4Enhanced durability performance

The display utilizes scratch-resistant, high-strength Dragontrail® X glass and realizes additional protection by applying a structure in which the display is slightly recessed, thus enhancing durability against accidental drops. The DIGNO rafre also possesses vibration resistance enabling safe use in vibrating environments such as on bicycles and motorbikes and temperature resistance enabling users to enjoy winter sports.

Colors Coral Pink, Cashmere White, Marine Navy
Size (W×H×D) / Weight Approx. 71×141×10.1mm / Approx. 155g
Battery 3,000mAh
Charging Time Approx. 160 minutes when using the common AC adapter 05
(sold separately)
Continuous Call Time /
Continuous Standby Time
Approx. 1,300 minutes (VoLTE) / Approx. 790 hours (4G LTE/ WiMAX2+)
Operating System Android™ 5.1
Memory Internal memory: 16GB ROM / 2GB RAM

External memory: microSD™ / microSDHC™ / microSDXC™

(up to 128GB)

Compatible Communication 4G LTE / WiMAX2+
Maximum Communication Speed Reception: 150Mbps
Transmission: 25Mbps
Display Approx. 5.0-inch HD TFT LCD
Camera Main camera: Approx. 13-megapixel CMOS
Front-facing camera: Approx. 2-megapixel CMOS
External Connection Wi-Fi®: IEEE802.11b/g/n/ (2.4GHz only)
Bluetooth®: Ver.4.1
Other external devices: Stereo earphone jack

*1 World’s first smartphone available in the market with resistance to hand soap foam. Based on research by NEO MARKETING INC. (as of November 1, 2015).

*2 Waterproof performance equivalent to IPX5/8.

Kyocera's proprietary durability test (cleaning cycle test of hand-wash using hand soap foamed with water lathering and rinsing) was conducted. The product’s features were confirmed based on the Kyocera’s proprietary cleaning cycle test of hand-wash using hand soap foamed with water lathering and rinsing.

As for rinsing, completely remove the foam from the handset with gently running water. After cleaning, completely remove water by applying a dried soft cloth to the handset.

Ensure that caps, etc. are attached correctly before use. Clean with sufficiently foamed hand soap. Do not mix different types of hand soap. The product passed under the test conditions; cannot be guaranteed for all type of hand soap.

For details and precautions of cleaning method, see the au website (product page) or the instruction manual.

*3 Waterproof / Dust resistance equivalent to IPX5/8 and IP5X:

Rated for MIL-STD-810G six categories: Shock, Vibration, High Temperature (operating and in storage) and Low Temperature (operating and storage). The product passed the test conditions for the above categories; full operation cannot be guaranteed under actual conditions. Furthermore, there is no guarantee against damage.

*4 Kyocera conducted a proprietary test to check that the handset does not break down when splashed with hot water having approximately the same temperature (43°C or less) as that of hot water in a bathtub. Ensure that caps, etc. are securely fixed and attached before use. Do not carry in for a long time. Do not submerge in hot water in the bathtub. Do not submerge in hot springs or hot water with bath powders.

*5 Deep abrasions (including peeling of coating and break in coating itself) caused by high impact owing to dropping or throwing the product or by contact with sharp items cannot self-heal. The product cannot guarantee repair of all abrasions. The self-healing performance may be deteriorated or disabled depending on the environment of use (e.g., friction material, load, temperature).

 

“DIGNO” is registered trademarks of Kyocera Corporation in Japan. The service name “4G LTE” is based on the definition of 4G to include LTE by International Telecommunications Unions (ITU). LTE is a trademark of ETSI. Google, Android, Google Play and other marks are trademarks or registered trademarks of Google Inc. WiMAX is a trademark or registered trademark of WiMAX Forum. Wi-Fi® is a registered trademark of the Wi-Fi Alliance. Bluetooth® and the Bluetooth logo are trademarks of Bluetooth SIG, Inc. for which Kyocera has been granted permission to use. microSD, microSDHC and microSDXC are trademarks of SD-3C, LLC. Dragontrail® and its symbol mark are trademarks of Asahi Glass Co., Ltd. All company, system, and product names listed herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of the respective holders.