Today's latest smart phones can surf the web, run a multitude of applications, take surprisingly good pictures and video, and even play games with real 3D graphics. Unfortunately, these portable pieces of high technology are also quite fragile. Few will survive more than a couple of falls to the pavement, and I wouldn't want to pull out any of them in a downpour.
Ruggedized smart phones have existed for some time, but the Motorola Defy is the first model I've seen that doesn't sacrifice functionality or portability. The Android-powered device is roughly the same size and weight as the average smart phone, and it sports an 800MHz processor, a 3.7" screen with an 854x480 display resolution, a five-megapixel digital camera, and a MicroSD slot. To help protect the device from damage, Motorola employs a scratch- and impact-resistant Gorilla Glass display from Corning. According to Engadget, the handset also meets the IP67 durability spec, which means it should be impervious to dust and capable of surviving under water for 30 minutes at a depth of one meter. Impressive.
Neither Engadget nor Motorola say much about the Defy's shock resistance, so it's unclear just how many times it'll tolerate being dropped from a reasonable height. You'll probably still want a bumper. As a resident of rain-soaked Vancouver, though, I'd consider this phone on the strength of its water-proofing alone. The more technology becomes integrated into our day-to-day lives, the more it really needs to be able to survive the elements. At the very least, the Defy looks to be a step in the right direction.