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Guess which surprising local company is entering the cellphone game
You can buy a smartphone with the Caterpillar name on it.
It sounds like an odd combination: the Peoria-based maker of construction equipment and a tiny device that needs tender loving care.
But Cat knows its core market and isn’t afraid to license its name in pursuit of it. Construction workers, the company figures, will use a phone that can stand up to hostile conditions and grimy hands. And it would help if it doesn’t look a brick.
So Cat, which already applies its name to work boots, has partnered with British firm Bullitt Mobile to produce the B15 Android phone. It’s got the proportions of other Android phones, but with a big difference.
It’s designed to withstand the rigors of any job site. Cat said it is “impervious to dust,” can be dropped with no damage from up to 6 feet and is waterproof up to a meter. The swiping function on the screen works with wet fingers.
The phone was introduced at a wireless industry trade show convention in Las Vegas. It is being sold for $349.99 without a wireless contract.
It has no distributor among wireless providers yet, but Cat said the phone is compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile systems.
A reviewer for TechRadar said the 3G phone doesn’t match the functionality of the latest iPhones or Android products but is otherwise serviceable and “surprisingly good looking.” He also said it lives up to its promise of toughness.