Part Two in a Series
When psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud famously proclaimed there are no accidents and inadvertently inserted the term ‘Freudian Slip’ into our vernacular, he obviously had no clue of what was coming in terms of mobile device technology.
Mobile devices – especially those with larger screens – are extremely vulnerable to the bumps, bruises and everyday ‘accidents’ of life, Freudian or otherwise. Things happen, and the best you can do is take some preventative measures to minimize or avoid damage when smartphones, tablets and notebooks are doing what they do best. That is, being used as mobile devices.
First, a confession: I’m a serious klutz. To those who know me, this isn’t news. It’s a truth that’s evident in the way that I walk (cautiously, if there’s snow and ice on the ground and clumsily even when there isn’t) and in the innumerable tales I have to tell about the last time I fell up a flight of steps, or my top ten near misses with the Great Beyond. But what really scares me about having been born this way is not that I’ll meet an untimely end. It’s that I’ll waste a lot of money in the process by having to fix broken things – not bones, but expensive electronics.
You see, I am the proud owner of a large screen tablet; I take it with me everywhere. And if “down, suddenly” is the direction in which I inadvertently move, my tablet’s sure to go. Just like Mary’s lamb, only a lot more breakable.
Admittedly, I didn’t do much thinking about my history of clumsiness when I started shopping around for the tablet that would best suit my needs. Like most people, price was at the top of my list of priorities, followed shortly thereafter by speed, memory, screen resolution, and cool factor. I never once considered the critical issues of durability or rugged exterior or super-powered glass that doesn’t break. Probably because I never knew just how much exposure to damage I put my tablet through on a daily basis.
This remained the case until recently, when I decided to keep a journal of my day’s activities, which I’ve copied and pasted below. The sheer number of opportunities for damage is, as you’ll see, chilling. Note: this was a day off work, so please no comments asking if this is all I do every day, or why my day seems a bit short.
Take a Tablet and Call Me in the Morning
- 6:30am – Woke up, booted tablet while making coffee. Backsplash from bleary-eyed water reservoir miss caused a moment of panic when I realized more water hit the tablet than the intended target. Note to self: should look into waterproof protective case for days like today.
- 6:45am – Made breakfast. Stood in kitchen reading headlines via funky tablet news app and burned toast. Impact on tablet minimal, but experience did confirm kitchen smoke detector is in fine working condition.
- 7:15am – Checked emails over breakfast. Made mistake of turning back on dog and tablet while cleaning breakfast dishes. Discovered dog giving tablet proverbial taste test, which resulted in a low-impact fall from table. Dog scolded. Tablet survived.
- 8:05am – Worked out on treadmill. (Alert the media and my mom.) Decided to re-watch old X-Files episode on tablet via Netflix and propped it up on treadmill face. Workout aborted at five-minute mark when one too many overenthusiastic steps jostled tablet loose and sent it down with a sick pop. Tablet flew off conveyor under coffee table. Banged head while retrieving. No damage discovered to tablet.
- 8:45am – Took shower. Brought tablet for musical accompaniment. Placed securely on bathroom counter after playing scary game of “is he going or isn’t he going to drop it? Far too close to toilet bowl for comfort. Bent three-song-maximum water saving rule by putting on Close to the Edge album by Yes.
- 12:15pm – Met wife for lunch. Tossed tablet onto front seat of car, but put a little too much oomph into it and nearly sent it through passenger door panel. Must not know my own strength. Shared with wife. Not impressed.
- 12:30pm – Dialed in to free Wi-Fi over meal and spent the time watching trailers to decide what movie to see. Bought tickets to Tarantino flick and narrowly avoided painting tablet glass with ketchup from French fry.
- 1:30pm – Swung by Starbucks on way home. While in line, hopped onto complementary Wi-Fi and pulled up email with free coupon, noting to myself that I really must get myself a tablet with 3G. Nearly decapitated barista when attempt to display free coffee barcode on tablet screen came within a hair’s breadth of going awry. Lawsuit averted.
- 2:30pm – Drove home slowly; too many near misses in a single day make the head spin.
Time to Take Some Damage Precautions
As you can see, my days off are chock full of excitement. Not only that, but they’re also riddled with opportunities for me to find myself out an operational tablet and a few hundred dollars. And so, I live my life with the feeling of impending technological disaster. The obvious answer to this would be to stop being clumsy, but even if that were possible it wouldn’t spare me from bona fide accidents and dumb luck.
The takeaway lesson here? The next time I’m in the market for a large slab of glass-encased technology that’s going to cost me an arm and a leg, I’m going to put a few requirements above price. Okay, maybe just a notch below price and cool factor. So, here is my updated list of requirements and shopping caveats when it comes to mobile devices and the cold, cruel world:
- Durability and shock-resistance ratings. (Basically, I want a device that is as tough as my day. Well, maybe not this particular day, but a real work day).
- Weight. (The heavier they are, the harder they land.
- A reinforced glass cover, or ruggedized glass substrate that has a higher tolerance for scratches, nicks and cracks.
- A protective case. Not necessarily ne that resembles a U.S. Army field box, but something that is capable of absorbing the occasional jostles and jolts.
- Insurance, insurance, insurance. Because even being graceful and having a killer protective case won’t help you when you just run out of luck. Accidents happen.
Read Part One in our special series, Super-Size: Rising Demand for Screen Flexibility in Mobile a Plus and a Problem.
Read Part Three in our special series, Getting Tough: Tips for Protecting Your Mobile Device
Go to Glass Act main page for more on screen protection.