Caterpillar Cat B15 Ruggedized Smartphone Runs Android: MWC

The company better know for backhoes debuts a rugged smartphone that can handle the wind, rain, snow and cold.

BARCELONA, Spain—There are all sorts of waterproof, dustproof and scratch-resistant devices at this year’s convention, and Caterpillar, better known for its heavy machinery, is now getting into the ruggedized smartphone market with the launch of the Cat B15, offered by Bullitt Mobile, a global licensee for Cat phones.

Its robust design includes the ability to withstand a 1.8-meter drop, and it can be submerged in up to one meter of water for 30 minutes. In addition, it offers the functionality to use the 4-inch multi-touch screen with wet fingers, and the handset is also dustproof and scratch-resistant. The device comes with the latest version of Google’s Android (4.1 Jelly Bean) operating system and boasts a dual core MediaTek 1GHZ processor.

The device is pitched at a diverse audience, from outdoor adventurers like snowboarders or mountain bikers, to industrial and construction workers, or pretty much anyone looking for a phone that withstands dropping, knocking, water and dust. The handset is protected by silver anodized aluminum and shock absorbent rubber, reinforcing its durability, and is certified IP67.

Other features include 4GB of storage and 512GB of RAM, talk time of up to nine hours, a 5-megapixel rear camera, video recording, a microUSB and a microSD slot, and GPS capabilities. It also boasts a temperature operational range of between 4 degrees below zero to 130 degrees. The phone is expected to be available in March from a variety of retailers in Europe for around $430.

“The Cat B15 is one of the most exciting launches in the rugged mobile device sector, a handset that will withstand seriously tough conditions, whilst remaining distinctively designed. Bucking the trend for mobile phones that look great, but fail to stand up to the rigors of an active lifestyle, the Cat B15 brings the heritage, credibility and quality of the Cat brand, combined with the latest mobile technology, delivering a reliable, durable device.” Bullitt Mobile director of technology Dave Floyd said in a statement. “We strongly believe that Cat Phones will drive the popularity and growth of the under-served global rugged device market, and our ambition is to be the No. 1 global rugged device handset by 2015.”

Cat wasn’t the only company putting a nearly indestructible handset on display at the convention, however. The Kyocera DuraPro is water, shock, dust and vibration resistant and is encased in non-slip Dura-Grip material for a strong hold and extra durability. It can be immersed for up to 30 minutes in up to one meter of water and is engineered to meet Military Standard 810G for temperature extremes, blowing rain, low pressure, solar radiation, salt fog and humidity.