people see this as a funny thing but it's truly a great step forward. A rugged waterproof/sandproof device could be used in the third-world, for education, for smaller children (who tend to break things). if it had a PixelQi screen, it could be used outside in the sun or in the rain.
I wish all companies did this with their tablets/laptops/smartphones.
What about the capacitive touch screen? Wouldn't its operation be affected by contact with water?
Ports could probably be done like PowerMat for charging, and optical for communication, maybe integrating something similar to Apple's MagSafe connector. I love to see technology companies pushing the envelope of rugged design.
The more I use capacitive touch phones, the more convinced I am that my ten year old Palm Treo was better: Resistive touch screen that worked fine with gloves, finger, stylus, anything! Tough, stiff (not rubber!) physical keyboard that was far more responsive than Evo, iPhone 4 or even the Win7 phones I have used. Better Contact-to-Calendar-to-Alarm integration than any but Win7 (which is built in BTW). Even after paying serious cash for apps on iPhone, or rooting and tweaking Androids, the old Palm OS (not Web OS) made modern "smart" phones feel like toys with little real, mature, functionality.
Little known fact: Ports don't have to be covered if their internal housings are sealed. And once connected, metal contacts conduct better than salt water so most jacks work fine when submerged. It's the device housing and assembly itself that usually fails to seal.