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If you’ve ever dropped your smartphone in the toilet then spent the next 48 hours offering sacrifices to the device as it sat in... Are Waterproof eReaders Really That Important?

If you’ve ever dropped your smartphone in the toilet then spent the next 48 hours offering sacrifices to the device as it sat in a bowl of rice to dry out, you may wonder why every single object you own isn’t encased in carbonite like Han Solo. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to fling electronics about willy-nilly without ever having to worry about a quick splash in the pool or a beach bag that accidentally drops in the ocean?

Never fear, as key device manufacturers agree with you. And it’s not just the expensive after market cases that can add a layer of protection, now it’s the devices themselves that can stand up to what you dish out.


Amazon’s Waterfi-treated Kindle Paperwhite emerged last summer, a device so profoundly protected that TechCrunch’s Darrell Etherington declared it to be “humanity’s greatest achievement.” Of course, this is a guy who took it in the shower to read and discovered that the spray from the shower head activated the touch screen, so his opinion (and possibly his sanity) could be called into question. He went on to prove a great point about the device, though, by leaving it submerged in water for three days before coming back to discover that it worked exactly as well as it did when it was first removed from its packaging.

Kobo introduced its Aura H2O last summer, and it was met with the same eager reception even though its casing didn’t even pretend to hold up to full submersion for any amount of time. The Aura is intended for more common scenarios, such as standing up from your chaise beside the pool and forgetting your device was nestled among the folds of your towel. A quick dip in the pool isn’t enough to bring down the Aura H2O, which shipped to North America in October (followed up by Australia) and reached the Japanese market late last week.

But all this new-fangled functionality begs the question: do we really need to be reading ebooks in the bathtub? The brief answer is of course we do. The edgier answer is “You’re not the boss of me!” and that suits true digital reading aficionados just fine. Everything that was initially touted as being great about e-readers has come to pass now that worldwide audiences can read practically anywhere: beachside, poolside, in the tub, even while scuba diving. eBooks have truly become the go-anywhere solution, and if a human can get there, his reading device can go too.