Caterpillar announces low cost mid-range B15 rugged Android smartphone (CTIA 2013)

For those that need a ruggedized smartphone, the Cat B15 may be a decent competitor priced at a reasonable $350 with no carrier contract.

Caterpillar announces low cost mid-range B15 rugged Android smartphone
Image: Caterpillar

As a professional naval architect, I often specify Caterpillar marine diesel engines for inclusion in new and modified ships. This week we see Caterpillar announced their new Cat B15 Android smartphone that brings a rugged designed Android smartphone to consumers at a very reasonable price.

I have seen prices for enterprise, field-focused rugged devices appear at double or more of the consumer price so I have to admit I was a bit shocked by the low $349.99 SIM unlocked price of the B15. Caterpillar has a couple previous models of rugged phones, but this new B15 is running Android Jelly Bean with a 4 inch display, ability to withstand a 5.9 foot drop and water submergence of 3.2 feet for 30 minutes.

Check out the hands-on with the B15.

The Cat B15 works on GSM networks around the world, including AT&T and T-Mobile in the US. The device is protected by an aluminum and shock absorbent rubber shell, giving it the IP67 rating. Specifications include:

  • Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
  • MediaTek MT6577 Dual 1GHz Cortex(TM)-A9
  • Wireless bands: Quad-band GSM and Tri-Band 3G (no T-Mobile 1700 MHz)
  • 4 inch WVGA display with Gorilla glass
  • 4GB internal storage and 1GB RAM with microSD expansion support
  • 5 megapixel camera and VGA front facing camera
  • Dimensions of 149.95 x 125 x 69.5mm and 170 grams

The Cat B15 is designed for field workers and active lifestyle folks (snowboarders, mountain bikers, etc.). With decent specs and a price competitive to what we see with Google Nexus devices, this could be quite popular for those who need a rugged solution.