Caterpillar’s Ultra-Durable Smartphone Comes to U.S.

by Christopher Freeburn | May 22, 2013 11:36 am

B15cat[1]When you think of Caterpillar (CAT[2]), smartphones are probably the last thing that comes to mind[3].

On Monday, however, the heavy construction equipment manufacturer became the smartphone industry’s most unlikely emerging player with the launch of its B15 Cat Phone. The super-strong smartphone is designed for use in the sort of environment that Caterpillar’s other products — tractors, excavators, backhoes — operate. That is to say, dirty and wet. The rugged phone was built in partnership with the U.K.’s Bullitt Group, CNN Money notes.

Sporting a 4.1-inch touchscreen and ‘s (GOOG[4]) Android 4.1 operating system, the thin phone can be submerged in a meter of water for up to half an hour and its screen will work even when wet. Encased in rubber and aluminum, the phone can withstand drops from up to six feet.

The B15 Cat isn’t Caterpillar’s first phone, but it is the company’s first model that might have an appeal outside the construction industry. Just slightly wider and 2 ounces heavier than Apple‘s (AAPL[5]) flagship iPhone 5, the B15 Cat sells for $349 without a contract and is compatible with the wireless networks of T-Mobile (TMUS[6]) and AT&T (T[7]).

Shares of Caterpillar climbed slightly in Wednesday trading.

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