(CNN) -- Call it a tech-induced hydrophobia.
Consumer electronics and water don't mix, and for many, there are few things more nerve-racking than a smartphone or tablet that's been accidentally doused.
A rainy day or a trip to the beach means gingerly baby-sitting our devices. And kitchens and bathrooms are fraught with danger zones: sinks, bathtubs and worse.
"I can't tell you how many people I know who've accidentally dropped their phone in the toilet, or their kid spilled their juice box all over it," CNET senior writer Maggie Reardon told CNN.
A soaked phone or tablet has traditionally meant shelling out for a costly replacement. But new technology has moved beyond waterproof cases and "rugged" cell phones designed to withstand rough conditions. Devices highlighted at this year's Mobile World Congress and Consumer Electronics Show suggest the future is bright for phones and tablets that are both stylish and waterproof -- or at least water-resistant.
Sony's Xperia Tablet Z was a hot item at last week's Mobile World Congress because of its sleek design and functionality, with the ability to withstand getting wet a cool add-on.
"If you're having a bath and you really want to enjoy that great movie ... and (the tablet) accidentally falls into the bath, it's OK," said Xperia Z product manager Sharath Muddaiah. That level of waterproofing is already incorporated in a few Sony smartphones such as the Acro S and Advance, and most recently with the Xperia Z.
The Xperia Z's makers said it can withstand sprays of water -- such as sprinkler play on a lawn or a water fight. They even claim it can be dunked in up to 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes.
There's no specific or special coating on the device, Muddaiah said. Rather, the device is made water-resistant in all of its parts without the stereotypically bulky design for which so-called rugged phones have been known.
"We see today that a lot of consumers would like to use their device in the rain -- say you're trying to using Google Maps and navigating," Muddaiah said. Or "you're out at the pub and someone accidentally spills their drink. If that's the case, you can just rinse the device under a tap of water."more