Caterpillar have burst back onto the smartphone scene, this time with the ultra-rugged B15. This tough piece of Android was built in partnership with Bullitt Mobile, a British electronics company, and together they seem to have hit the mark with an ultra-tough 4-inch smartphone that could prove to be a big hit with many business customers involved in areas like construction, architecture, real estate, agriculture, engineering and basically everyone who needs a phone that has the power of Android in a durable casing.
The specification looks really interesting. Here's some choice elements which may catch your eye:
- Waterproof in as much as 1 metre (3 feet) of water for 30 minutes
- Impervious to dust
- 4 inch screen, with Gorilla Glass, that can be used with a wet finger
- Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean), and from the pictures it looks like stock Android
- Operational between -20 and +55 Celsius (which is between -4 and +131 in Fahrenheit)
- Survives a drop of 1.8 metres (6 feet) onto concrete
- 2000 mAh battery, although Caterpillar claim it can get 16.3 hours talktime and up to 26 days standby time
- 4 GB internal storage
- 512 MB RAM
So, interesting specs indeed, and you can see exactly what kind of market this phone is being aimed at. I'm wondering where they're getting the figures for the battery life from, although I assume that it is a direct result of the 512 MB RAM which is on the phone, which will surely scale back on any serious battery drain. Speaking of the RAM, I can't see this phone breaking any speed records, but again that's not the market that Caterpillar are looking for with this device.
I have to admit, I'm intrigued by this phone that Caterpillar and Bullitt have cleverly created. I have had experience using similar devices in my own workplace (retail) that ran a form of Windows CE and were built to endure low temperatures, spills, being run over by pallet trucks, you name it – and a device like this one, running what still is a good version of Android, would be a perfect replacement for the thousands of durable computers that are out there.
The phone will be retailing at $349, which actually isn't a bad price for a device of this type. There's been no mention of carriers yet, but it is a GSM phone, so if you're mobile network is also a GSM network, this device may be an option for you.
Do you work in an environment that's quite tough and have been looking for a phone that can endure that environment? Let us know your thoughts on this new 'tough phone' in the comments.