First it was luxury brand Prada now it is construction brand Caterpillar that is stepping into the Android smart phone world. Caterpillar is actually aiming for a slice of the rugged smart phone market. Rather than competing with the top of the line HTC, LG and Samsung phones, the company is hoping to rival the “will survive anything”section of the market.
According to Verge, the new Caterpillar B10 is quite capable of taking a beating. This is good because otherwise the phone is really not all that impressive. It only has a single core 800 MHZ processor, five megapixel camera, front facing camera and sports Android 2.3.5. It is at least an inch thick and covered in rubber. It has a 3.2 inch screen. There is no word on the amount of RAM or memory size.
Caterpillar is known for its rugged construction, paving and farming equipment so it comes as no surprise that the phone has achieved IP67 certification. An IP67 rating means that the phone is dust and water proof both of which are important around farms and construction sites. Rather than Corning Gorilla glass used on many rugged smart phones, Caterpillar has chosen to go with Corning’s competitor Asahi for strong glass.
Most Android phones released these days have a duel core one gigahertz processor, eight megapixel camera and Android 4.0. The B10 will eventually get Android 4.0 according to the company but there is no word on when. It is expected to be available worldwide for about $500.
The phone should be able to withstand just about anything that could happen to it. The camera should allow quick pictures of a worksite and equipment. If something is off, a worker can take a picture of it and send it to off site managers or architects. The front facing camera lets them hold a quick video conference about any problems that arise. Speed probably isn’t a factor since the phones are clearly intended for work and not general entertainment. If you are working on a building, you shouldn’t need to look up “how-to” videos on YouTube.
The Motorola Defy + and Samsung Rugby Smart are the B10’s main competition. Both the Motorola Defy + and the Samsung Rugby Smart have larger 3.7 inch screens and faster processors but neither one has the rugged casing of the Caterpillar phone. Waterproof and dustproof are great, but you also need a phone that will survive being knocked against walls and stepped on by livestock. It looks like the Caterpillar with its rugged rubber outing will be able to survive the worst abuse found on farms and construction sites.
Above illustration from The Verge