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Spillikins No 127. How to save the water damaged handset

The last week was pretty tough for me in all respects. My schedule is packed, but I would like to tell about my trip to Turkey. I will do it next time or even in a special article. So far let's look at several stories, which attracted my attention.


  1. How I Drowned Gadgets in the Lake
  2. Mobile Roaming Ц The EU To Introduce Unified Price Caps
  3. Common Sense vs. App Store
  4. LG Cuts Down Sales Forecast
  5. Bada 2.0 is Coming Soon

How I Drowned Gadgets in the Lake

Last week I went to the lake to conduct a master class. I also had one hour for a boat trip. The view was magnificent and soon we started off. In the middle of the lake we lost the balance and though our boat did not capsize my friend and I went flying into the water. Two cameras and documents remained in the boat. It took us 40 minutes to get to the shore as nobody paid attention to a guy in wet clothes and his friend in the safety belt. We wanted to take pictures of this funny moment, but both cameras would not work, because some water got inside. During my speech I was wearing wet jeans, somebody else's T-shirt and slippers from the hotel minus the glasses. The audience was active and satisfied with my performance. The topic of this paragraph is different though.

During our struggles in the water I had Samsung Galaxy S2 in my pocket. Any model would have reacted similarly as my handset would not start. This funny adventure had no victims, but I again thought about rules while dealing with water damaged electronic devices. It is no secret that people often drop handsets into pools, bathtubs and urinals (ironically it is the most popular type of phone damage). Sometimes your phone gets into water if you travel by boat.

How should you react to increase the chances of survival for your beloved gadget?

Rule No 1. No power supply and batteries. First take a battery out of the device if it is possible (with Apple iPhone or similar objects you cannot do it at home or in the field). Water and electricity are ideal for corrosion of conductor strips, so take the battery out.

Rule No 2. How to dry the gadget?. Do not use the fan or water the gadget from dirt! Take the excessive water away with a tissue and wave it for water drops to come out of slots, but after 40 minutes under water your phone will have lots of aqua inside. Open all jacks, slots and technological openings. Take the battery cover off and dry everything with a tissue.

If you are sure that spirit will not damage the screen of your device (phone or player as this approach cannot be used with cameras optics) put the handset into a glass of spirit for an hour. Water from the phone will get into spirit, which you can easily dry when you take the model from the glass (minimum drying period is 24 hours or more if the room is cold). It is an ideal solution if the service centre is far from you.

I had no spirit on my hands and I put elements of the phone under the car air conditioner for a 5 hour ride back to the capital. I could have purchased rice in any convenience store by the road. Rice soaks the water in and after 2-3 days the handset usually gets dry. There are some risks and the outcome depends on the model. Rice also soils the gadget.

People with access to silica gel believe they can put it inside, but it is not a perfect idea, because it is an uphill struggle to clean the phone from the substance then.

When you get home place a damp or wet device in the draughty area far from direct sunlight. In a day or two the phone will be dry. Only then you can put the battery inside and check whether the gadget works or not, otherwise you can facilitate the corrosion.

I had no pure spirit at home and I had to resort to draught alone. No radiators please! In 24 hours my phone started well and kept on working as if nothing had happened. I think the phone will not work long as 40 minutes under water is a serious issue. The battery now offers slightly less time and the charging takes longer. You cannot expect the phone to last long and it can let you down any time. Technicians call such phones drowned for a reason. They can give you one year or several weeks of operation. It is the question of luck.

You can often come across such phones when shopping for a preowned handset. Owners are anxious to get rid of dried models until they stop working. It is easy to detect such a model if a test strip on a battery is red or violet instead of white. The absence of the strip is also suspicious, while its exact location must be determined individually in every particular case.

I hope you will not need my advice, but if the water damage happens be quick and sensible. If you have your own magical tricks feel free to share them with us and they will be included in future Spillikins.

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Mobile Roaming Ц The EU To Introduce Unified Price Caps

Europe is trying to become a quasi-state with common borders, administrative bodies and with a unified pricing for roaming within the EU. New regulations came into effect starting from July 1 2011 for dozens of European carriers. The cost of one minute cannot exceed И0.35 for outgoing calls or И0.11 for incoming (excluding VAT of the host country). As we can see Europe is introducing common roaming price caps and this is a logical step towards a unified mobile space. But, unfortunately, it will be the subscribers who will pay for low roaming prices.

The US did the very same thing and the carriers were forced by the government to introduce same pricing for small towns and large cities Ц unified tariffs for the entire country. The US experience is considered to be positive example of the state control and that's what the EU is going to do. The price for common pricing in the US was paid by the subscribers and the prices for local services grew proportionally for all users and it keeps growing. Every year mobile communication becomes more expensive in the US. Carriers offer less and less flexible plans and more all-in-one packages. The EU is following the same path only there many more hidden obstacles in the European scenario.

Germany and France are the biggest economies of the Eurozone. Donor states help less wealthy neighbors investing into industry, education and all kinds of subsidies. How will the EU create a price cap? Who will become an average European? A high income German or a less wealthy Czech? This equation does not have a common denominator and the carriers that operate across Europe have to use different tariffs not because they want it but because the market dictates so.

This is where the politics comes in and the EU wants to be or at least look united and unified mobile tariffs are a part of the plan and the roaming prices will be brought down to the prices of local calls thus creating a single tariff zone. Carriers will respond to this government initiative (the Euro Commission is actually a government) similarly to the Russian and the US scenarios. Minutes will be priced to conform with the law but the traffic and other services in tariff plans will increase the mobile bills for each user. I am quite sure that the ARPU rate gap between the EU and Russia will be increasing again due to the European Commission initiative.

From the political point of view common mobile prices is a step towards a common economic space but this means bigger bills for users and it is inevitable and is about to happen in the next few years. Price caps for certain services like mobile roaming will lead to a revision of the market policies and consumers will be the out cost. As strange as it may seem but the carriers won't profit from this Ц it will be harder for them to make profits despite increased turnovers.

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Common Sense vs. App Store

You may remember the litigation between Amazon and Apple over the rights to use the AppStore brand. Apple filed a lawsuit claiming that consumers might be confused by the fact that some other companies besides Apple use the AppStore brand. But Phyllis Hamilton, an American judge, concluded that even though the AppStore brand was created by Apple the company failed to create a strong association of this brand with the company's name. So Amazon is allowed to continue using this brand unless Apple comes up with new evidence that would speak in favor of their plea.

The consequences of this case imply that other companies are now able to use the AppStore name. Apple's response was very interesting and many companies could learn from this example how to use a mishap in their own advantage. If you search for "AppStore news" or something similar you will learn from the news that the Apple store scored 15 billion downloads even though in June the company officially claimed only 14 billion. This is a perfect media counter-attack Ц the company replaces unwanted PR with what they want you to read. All companies could use this elegant scheme instead of moaning about their problems.

More numbers from Apple Ц AppStore now offers 425,000 applications, and 100,000 of them are for iPad. There are 200 million iOS devices in the world Ц that is twice more that Android devices (a bit over 100 million units as of May). Back then Google also claimed that there were 4.5 billion downloads made from the Android market Ц the real number is about 200 thousand. These two app stores are the world leaders Ц the others are dramatically behind them the single biggest being the Nokia OVI store with 48 thousand apps and other content (Nokia also count images, videos and songs as apps). There are 6 million downloads made daily from the OVI store. Taking into account that a significant part of these downloads are content and updates the Nokia store numbers are not impressive at all.

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LG Cuts Down Sales Forecast

The world of the mobile phone manufacturers is entering the stage of survival of the fittest. LG has revised their plans for 2011 because of their performance on the American and European markets. Back in late 2010 the company adopted a completely different strategy and stopped selling subsidized phones and introduced a little price margin. LG is now counting the losses the company suffered in order to occupy, or more precisely to buy, a segment of the market. LG is following Sony Ericsson and Motorola on the path of money saving and consequently the sales forecast has been lowered down. The main priority is now profit making Ц every model should make profit and be produced in large quantities. The present product family is not up to this job so the manufacturer had to ditch some models. As a result, the company plans on selling 114 million handsets in 2011 instead of the previously mentioned 150 million, including 24 million smartphones instead of 30 million previously expected.

LG have no illusions when it comes to the second half of 2011 Ц the dying Nokia is turning to price dumping followed by RIM and a number of other manufacturers. The price war is going to be hot as hell. Only companies that will be offering interesting products (and there are never too many of such products) are going to survive. The market is moving from the large product families stage to the era when the main roles are played by flagship models that will define how successful a company will be.

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Bada 2.0 is Coming Soon

The development of the Bada platform, frankly, is taking its time. We were waiting for the 2.0 version in 2010 but Samsung decided not to rush and the release is planned for fall 2011. Samsung develops Bada as a smartphone platform but the market sees Bada phones as touchscreen phones somewhere in between regular phones and smartphones. The number of apps for Bada is growing rather slowly and today it is just another phone platform which is not particularly popular. On some loyal to Samsung markets Bada smartphones occupy 10% of the smartphone segment which is an unexpectedly good performance. But we should keep in mind that for many people Bada phones are not smartphones but merely phones with touchscreens. I think that they offer excellent price to quality ratio but Samsung has failed to create a real competitor for Android and iOS.

On the emulator screenshots you may see what is new in the 2.0 version. There are a lot of improvements: the browser now supports html5 and acid3, live wallpapers are now available, gesture controls etc. you can see the new features. Anyway Bada itself is not a purchase motive Ц Bada users buy it for the price to quality ratio but it cannot be considered a real competitor of Android. Samsung has not changed the positioning of this platform Ц it is a cheaper equivalent of Android smartphones with equivalent hardware.

P.S. I wish you a nice week! I, meanwhile, will have to get back on the tracks Ц the last business trip has worn me down completely. Good luck, have a nice one!

Do you want to talk about this? Please, go to our Forum and let your opinion be known to the author and everybody else.

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Spillikins #124. Why Stephen Elop Killed Maemo

Spillikins #125. Nokia Week: Leaks from Elop

Spillikins #126. Do mobile devices need memory cards?

Eldar Murtazin (eldar@mobile-review.com)
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Translated by Maxim Antonenko (maxantonenko@ukr.net), Robert Mugattarov (mugattarov@gmail.com)

Published — 15 July 2011

Have something to add?! Write us... eldar@mobile-review.com



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