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OtterBox’s P.I.T. Lab: Where Its Toughest Smartphone Cases Prove Their Worth

OtterBox’s P.I.T. Lab: Where Its Toughest Smartphone Cases Prove Their Worth

For any mobile user, dropping a smartphone on the floor is a painful experience, regardless of the outcome. For OtterBox, it is all in a day’s work. Based in Colorado, OtterBox is a company that specializes in protecting smartphone devices, and the secret to coming up with the best protective accessories for handsets is in its torture lab.


We are talking, of course, about OtterBox’s Prototype Innovate and Test (PIT) laboratory. Here in this lab, the firm puts all sorts of smartphones and smartphone cases to the test in the quest to find the best way to protect mobile devices against drops and other forms of damage causing impact or abuse.


The tests at the PIT lab could range from deliberate drops from a height of four feet, to testing ultra violet exposure in order to determine how soon smartphone cases fade, and even to a thermal shock chamber, where cases are exposed to extreme hot and cold temperatures and see if they can weather it out.


Interestingly, OtterBox’s testers have even looked into the mechanics of a lady’s purse. It is a good bet that most female mobile users will put their smartphones inside their purse. Now, purses come in all shapes and sizes, not to mention all the other stuff that goes inside them, which apart from the smartphone could include a hair brush, a nail file, house keys, jewelry, a wallet with metal parts, and a compact mirror. Sure, OtterBox has no exact way of replicating every scenario for a smartphone inside a purse, but the company did try -- it converted a Maytag dryer into a purse tumbler, and then put test handsets inside a satchel, then threw the satchel inside the converted tumbler and then ran in into a total of a hundred revolutions, plus dropping it from a height of a meter afterwards, for good measure.


Fond of putting your smartphone inside one of the pockets in your jeans? OtterBox has got you covered. The company actually has a jeans test by way of a machine that repeatedly rubs a piece of fabric over a smartphone case in order to simulate a couple of years worth of a smartphone being put inside jeans’ pockets. 


For a company that creates protective solutions for smartphone devices, OtterBox is remarkably attuned to trends. In 2016, the firm debuted its Universe series specially for handsets that come with modular designs. What the Universe case does is allow the mobile user to turn any smartphone into a modular phone by attaching different accessories. Depending on the attached accessories, the handset can transform into a tripod, a bluetooth speaker, a wallet, a pro camera, or a battery pack.


Other trends will likely be harder to foresee, but OtterBox is not too worried about that. After all, as long as there are mobile devices out there, people will always find a way to drop them, which means that OtterBox’s rugged cases will always be in demand.