CAT, that company that is usually associated with heavy machinery, actually makes/sells smartphones too. It has announced a new flagship smartphone, which combines the ruggedness you might expect from such a company with up-to-date functionality (Android 6.0) as well as an integrated thermal camera made by FLIR. The CAT S60 handset is designed for utility and construction workers as well as those, who work in harsh environments. Despite expectations, the smartphone will cost about the same amount of money as flagship devices from other manufacturers.

Just like other CAT-branded smartphones designed by Bullitt Group (the company behind Cat Phones), the CAT S60 is rather bulky for good reason and is built on a die-cast stainless steel frame with carbon fiber inlays and a multitude of various details to ensure that the handset is dust- and water-proof. According to the developer, the smartphone can withstand drops onto concrete from up to 1.8 meters (MIL Spec 810G) and can even be used underwater (up to five meters depth) for one hour. The CAT S60 has special switches to block speaker and microphones when used underwater.

The key feature of the Cat S60 is its miniature thermal imaging camera based on the FLIR Lepton sensor (with 80×60 active pixels). The camera, which highlights temperature contrasts, can be used to identify over-heating electrical appliances and circuitry (or just check which computer components are the hottest ones and measure their actual temperature using a special application), detect heat loss around windows and doors, spot moisture and missing insulation and even see in complete darkness.

The Cat S60 smartphone is based on the octo-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 system-on-chip (one block of eight ARM Cortex A53 cores up to 1.5 GHz, Adreno 405 graphics, a single-channel LPDDR3 memory controller, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and an integrated X8 LTE modem with Cat 7 baseband capabilities) and Google Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating system. The handset features a 4.7” capacitive multi-touch display with 1280×720 resolution and improved brightness (540 nits), which is designed in such a way that it can be used while wearing gloves. The screen is protected with 1mm Gorilla Glass 4. The Cat S60 is also equipped with 3 GB of LPDDR3 memory, 32 GB of NAND flash storage (expandable using a microSD card), an underwater 13 MP main camera with dual-LED flash as well as a 5 MP front-facing camera, Wi-Fi, 4G LTE and Bluetooth wireless technologies, a host of sensors as well as a 3800 mAh battery. The phone can be connected to a PC or a charger using a micro-USB port.

CAT will demonstrate the S60 at Mobile World Congress and will make it available later this year for $599 in the U.S. or €649 in the E.U, although this is individual pricing and doesn't reflect the expected contract arrangements that might occur with larger businesses. Considering the fact that the smartphone more resembles a working tool than just a handset, its price does not seem to be too high, especially given that the smartphone thermal camera market is starting to take off (albeit at higher than 80x60 pixed quality). The fact that it is integrated rather than an add-on means it would get lost/broken less in a work environment. All that being said, the battery is non-removable (most likely due to the water proofing) and the dimensions/weight are unknown, but from the renders it might be more akin to a size of a larger 5.5-inch device and over 200g.

Source: CAT (via Tech Report)

Additional Reading

SEEK Thermal Smartphone Camera Review

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  • Hrel - Monday, February 22, 2016 - link

    4.7" is a good thing. I'd prefer 1080p, but wont' dismiss it just cause of 720p, as the other guy said, he doesn't think it's noticeable. It probably isn't.
  • Murloc - Monday, February 22, 2016 - link

    yeah seriously, I have a 854x480 4.5'' screen and I can see the pixels if I look closely, but it doesn't feel pixelated or blurry at all when reading text normally.
  • Alexvrb - Monday, February 22, 2016 - link

    I know a bunch of mechanics that would tolerate the "small" display if it meant it can withstand a few drops onto concrete. Steel + carbon fiber chassis, 1mm thick GG4? Sounds like they'll have a winner on their hands. The FLIR camera can come in handy in the automotive field as well.
  • name99 - Monday, February 22, 2016 - link

    If you think that's the most important spec, you're not in the market for this device.
    Your comment is like someone saying "Well, I was going to buy one of their bulldozers but then I saw it comes in that ugly yellow, so no thanks".
  • Kutark - Wednesday, February 24, 2016 - link

    Yeah. Or, "Where is the Bang and Olufsen stereo in this excavator?"
  • Alexvrb - Wednesday, February 24, 2016 - link

    "No heated leather seats in this steamroller? Unacceptable!"
  • close - Tuesday, February 23, 2016 - link

    The people targeted with this phone don't care if the screen is "just" 720p because they see it as a tool. You see it as a toy or gadget. A high-res screen would just drive costs up and battery life down with no good justification as far as the target audience is concerned.
  • ddriver - Tuesday, February 23, 2016 - link

    720p on a 4.7" isn't all that bad

    it doesn't have a headphone jack thou
  • Alexvrb - Tuesday, February 23, 2016 - link

    Possibilities exist for use with a wireless set, as well as USB Type C sets and/or adapters.
  • Kutark - Wednesday, February 24, 2016 - link

    Why? For actual work use 720p is plenty. Unless you're some hipster and you want to sit in a starbucks watching youtube on your super industrial phone that you don't actually need.

    Keep in mind this is designed for people doing actual work in sketchy conditions. The chances they're going to be doing a lot of media viewing at high resolutions is about squat. They need to be able to make calls, check maps, blah blah blah.

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