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CAT Announce First Smartphone With Built-In Thermal Camera

February 18, 2016 - Written By Muni Perez

You probably know CAT or Caterpillar by their tractors, dozers, forest machines, harvesters, off-highway giant trucks, and an extensive list of machines and equipment mainly focused in construction and heavy work. However, CAT also makes smartphones much the same; these are heavy duty rugged devices for people that use them in dangerous environments. In 2014 the company announced an “indestructible” smartphone, the CAT S50, and just a few days before this year’s Mobile World Congress, CAT has revealed their newest offering for workers in rugged environments. Called the S60, this handset has a very interesting and unique feature, which is a built-in thermal imaging camera from FLIR Systems.

Although you can add thermal imaging modules to a smartphone, CAT’s offering is the first in the world to come with the technology out of the box. Despite the fact that it would be a lot of fun to scan your surroundings with a thermal camera, the real life applications are promising, especially in construction sites or areas hit by disasters, like earthquakes or landslides. Both the thermal camera and the main shooter are located in the rear very close together and this combination allows for the creation of hybrid images combining the best part of both sensors. Additionally, the device is resistant to shocks, drops and scratches, with Gorilla Glass 4 for the screen, with a 1mm-thick panel – thicker than the regular Gorilla Glass 4 with a 0.4mm layer. Additionally, the Cat S60 is waterproof in depths of up to 5 meters.

As for the smartphone part of this handset goes, it features 4G LTE, runs Android Marshmallow and is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 octa-core processor, coupled with 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of internal storage. The display is a 4.7-incher and comes with an HD resolution that despite being low, is very bright. There’s a hefty 3,800 mAh battery to keep everything running, which should provide a very good usage time – although we don’t know exactly how much power the thermal imaging technology uses.

The CAT S60 will go on sale at the end of May, and it won’t be cheap. Priced at $599, it comes close to a flagship smartphone. However, if you wanted the standalone thermal imaging technology, a FLIR module costs $249, then the high price makes sense, especially because the device is not design for the masses, but for a very specific market.