A rugged ZTE smartphone with model number C501 has been certified by Chinese electronics certification agency TENAA, paving its way for a possible release in the coming months. The hardware specs listed on TENAA are nothing really to write home about, but the device’s main USP, as can be seen from the images, is its rugged build that should make it ideally suited for the outdoorsy types and for industrial workers. According to the listing, the device will feature a 4.5-inch TFT capacitive touchscreen display with an FWVGA resolution (854 x 480 pixels). It will be powered by an unidentified CPU clocked at a measly 1.1GHz, while RAM and built-in storage are listed at just 2GB and 16GB respectively. Thankfully, though, the handset will support storage expansion by way of a microSD slot that will apparently support cards of up to 64GB in capacity.
In terms of optics, the upcoming ZTE device will rock an 8-megapixel primary camera on the back, while the front-facing shooter will come with a 2-megapixel sensor. The handset will also support LTE connectivity alongside Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and USB. While most of the hardware specs may seem fairly low-end to many Android aficionados, what should really be a cause for concern is the dated Android 5.1.1 Lollipop that is said to be pre-installed on the device. It will be interesting to see if ZTE will actually launch this phone with a three-year old OS or if the company will actually get around to installing Android Nougat on it before making it official. Either way, the device will apparently be sold in a number of different colors, including the green+black number you see in these images. The other available options will be army green+black, army blue+black, yellow+black and solid black.
Not so long ago, rugged smartphones used to be an extremely niche segment within the overall smartphone industry, with very few companies like Kyocera and Caterpillar taking it seriously. While most tier-1 manufacturers give this market a pass, Samsung seems to be the only exception, releasing at least one rugged smartphone every year as part of its ‘Galaxy Active’ lineup. However, with waterproof, dustproof and shockproof all-weather devices steadily gaining more popularity, a number of companies are now throwing their hats in the ring by announcing such ruggedized handsets over the past year or two. The companies that have introduced their first rugged, all-weather smartphones over the past year include, power tool-maker Dewalt, gaming hardware and accessories company Razer and British automotive brand Land Rover.