If Sir Issac Newton was alive today, I bet he'd rue the day that darn apple fell to the ground. In fact, if his smartphone fell from that tree, the screen would have shattered and he would have been so mad that I'm sure he would have never invented gravity!!
If you follow me on Twitter (@swento), you know why I am talking about this. Last week, my Smartphone, my Samsung Galaxy S Infuse, my friend and confidant, slipped from my hand and fell face-first on the tile floor at our office. Regrettably, I had just removed the phone from its protective rubber case to clean the camera lens when it took this fatal fall. If you have ever done this (and a lot of people have), you understand that sinking feeling you get when you pick it up and check for damage. As I slowly turned the phone over, my fingers could feel multiple fractures along the glass surface. I knew it was bad. As a Gadget Guy this is usually a good thing -- it lets me buy a newer gadget -- unfortunately the amazing Galaxy III won't be out for a while.
My phone and I spend a lot of time together. It's like an extension of me - an extension that can take pictures of me and play games with me and play movies for me and connect me to the outside world. So this accident was quite traumatic for both of us. I felt like I let him down - it was my responsibility to take care of him and look at him now. The Galaxy S has a huge 4.5" screen so I should have seen it coming. The size of the screen is directly proportional to the degree of damage when dropped.
According to SquareTrade, more than one out of seven iPhone 4 owners, 13.8 percent, to be exact, will damage their phone within the first year, the highest rate of any smartphone. Motorola and HTC owners reported damage claims at a 12.2 percent rate, but only 6.7 percent of BlackBerry users filed claims during the same period. Plaxo Research takes it a bit further and reports that 19 percent of people drop their smartphones down the toilet. Please consider that for a moment. In the average family of five, it is likely that one of them has taken his or her smartphone into the bathroom and then, for reasons that would surely cause ordinary minds to boggle without pause, allowed it to slip into the watery beyond. Mine didn't fall in the toilet, but I did drop it as I stood up to wash my hands :-(
All the major carriers have some sort of protection plan -- Rogers has its "Handset Protection Program" and Telus has its "Device Protection Plan" followed by the Bell "Smart/Phone Care" plan. They cost about $7 a month and cover some things but there are a lot of catches and additional fees. They won't take your dripping wet toilet-phone and give you a brand new one for $7 for example. There is usually a "replacement fee" and refurbished units are often used as the replacement.
There is hope though. I took my phone to one of the many cell phone Fix-It shops that are popping up all over the place. I LOVE these places -- they remind me of my basement -- piled high with all things electronic. These stores have saved me many times over the years (yes I drop my phone a lot) but it's usually for a battery charger or a new faceplate -- never a whole touch display. My local fix-it shop repairs every brand of mobile phone and after punching my model into their computer, they ordered me a brand new screen and LCD for $150 including installation. They replace broken screens all the time -- they recently had 10 broken screen replacements in one day. They recommend the Otter Box to protect your phones and iPads and they have a wall full of sizes.
At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last month, Samsung unveiled a new line of flexible screens that can withstand a hit from a hammer. Sadly, they still can't swim.