For better or worse, the gravitational pull of the mobile phone has become remarkably strong. That has its drawbacks, of course, and, in a recent US study on nomophobia, the clinical description for the fear of being out of mobile contact, 63 percent of respondents said they checked their phone for messages or calls once an hour, nine percent said they checked their phone every five minutes and 63 percent said they would be upset if they left home without their smartphone. Now Spark is ensuring that those tethered to their phones don’t have to shower without them either after announcing a prototype dock designed to work with Sony’s new waterproof Xperia M4 Aqua.
“More and more people are feeling the need to stay connected throughout the day,” says Spark marketing manager Nikora Walters in a release. “Research shows that people reach for their phones an average of 221 times at day, including when they’re in the bathroom, and even while on the toilet … Spark is looking for ways to respond to growing demand for products that enable smartphone users to keep their device with them all the time.”
Spark says young Japanese women have been leading the way, as the early-adopting Japanese have been doing for years, and have been embracing the shower-in-the-phone for years, even taking calls in the shower.
For those who lament the amount of time spent staring down being distracted from the real world (something Matthew Crawford called ‘obesity of the mind‘ and something photographer Babycakes Romero called the death of conversation), the shower was one of the few remaining sanctuaries of disconnection. But studies have shown that one in eight people do admit to using their phone in the shower. And, as smartphones are often around liquid—and regularly get dropped in liquid by accident—a number of manufacturers are offering waterproof (or, as the lawyers probably require them to say, water resistant) smartphones, including Samsung’s S6 and iPhone 6.
“It’s not all about narcissism and risqué selfies,” says Walters. “Anecdotally we’ve found that one of the biggest uses of smartphones in the shower is for listening to music, podcasts or news. There’s also a big market of shower-singers out there.”
The shower dock prototypes have been designed with a built in speaker that naturally amplifies the sound from the phone’s speakers. This helps keeps the audio clear above the sound of the shower.
“The dock is great for listening to Spotify in the shower,” says Walters. “It takes singing in the shower to a whole new acoustic level.”
So grab a beer, crank up the Celine Dion and embrace that personal hygiene routine.