We have seen ruggedized phones in the past. These are typically phones with really out-dated operating systems, placed inside hardened cases, that are used just in emergencies by the outdoorsy kind of people who think the Ironman is just a warm-up training session. Or like Riaan Manser who simply hopped onto his bike and cycled the parameter of Africa a trip which took about 2 years 2 month and 11 days to complete.
Rugged phone are just not for everyone.
But when I heard that CAT was ready to announce their next-generation rugged smartphones, I had a feeling it would be different – and looks like I was right.
CAT already has various models of cool phones in the market, including the CAT B100 and the CAT S50. These are both rated as MIL SPEC 810G and are IP67 rated which means that these phones can be dropped from 1.8meters, are impervious to dust, are waterproof up to 1 meter for 30 minutes and are operational between –25 degrees and 55 degrees Celsius.
The new B15Q will be added to the range of CAT phones at the 4th quarter of this year of early next year. This device runs KitKat, the latest version of Android, and is aimed at those who spend their lives outdoors who need a rugged phone to take all the knocks but still want a cool phone with all the features that a “normal” phones delivers.
“With the Cat B15Q we have taken consumer feedback on board from its predecessor and added, for example, a faster processor and improved imaging capabilities,” said Oliver Schulte, COO of Cat phones. “This is the first rugged handset available globally to support Android’s KitKat so users no longer need to choose between smartphone durability and the latest Android features. The B15Q is a key milestone to Cat phones becoming the number one global rugged device vendor by 2015.”
The B15Q can be used with wet fingers. With other devices that are waterproof, the screen becomes unusable as it makes contact with water, however with the B15Q, this is not the case and the user continues to use as normal – even wearing big gloves is not an issue.
- Durability: IP67 (dustproof, scratch resistant) + MIL SPEC 810G
- Battery: 16 hours talk time, 2000mAh
- Display: 4” WVGA, Gorilla Glass 2, Wet Finger Tracking
- Camera: 5MP with LED Flash
- Weight: 170g
- Operational Temperature: -13°F (-25°C) to 131°F (55 °C).
The Cat B15Q also comes with the following applications: Waves Audio for professional studio quality sound tools, SwiftKey to help you type in an easier, faster and less frustrating way and Ocearch global shark tracker.
Mark Sales, the Regional sales Manager says that Africa is the ideal continent for the CAT phones and for industries like construction and mining there is no better phone. “You get all the fancy features you expect from a smartphone without worrying about the device lasting the day as it falls in mud, dropped onto concrete and is kicked around”.
SAIF CAT Cases
There are also CAT cases that are seriously impressive and protect even the most delicate of phones and tablets:
The range of cases for phones and tablets are made of SAIF which is an ”ACTIVE” material with unique shock and impact absorption properties. SAIF, pronounced “SAFE”, is a trademarked acronym for Shock Attenuation Injection Formula. The SAIF is able to change its nature depending on the speed at which it is asked to react to impact. The material can have a soft touch and then stiffen up when impacted.
These “non-Newtonian” properties of the material means the harder you hit it the better it works, providing increased impact protection proportional to the force applied to it. SAIF gives a step change in performance over typical foam energy absorbing materials and is much tougher than a normal foamed system, able to take multiple impacts without getting damaged.