Caterpillar Launching New Phone at Mobile World Congress

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Industrial giant Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE: CAT) mostly makes products that are too big to fit into your pocket or purse. Way too big in most cases.

The exception is Caterpillar’s S61 ruggedized smartphone that the company will launch at the Mobile World Congress that officially begins Monday in Barcelona. The phone is an updated version of Cat’s S60 phone.

The Cat S61 includes an integrated thermal imaging camera made by FLIR Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: FLIR) that features, among other things, live streaming of thermal imaging, vehicle diagnostics, and higher temperature equipment monitoring. These high-end features complement a variety of traditional uses, such as detecting heat loss around windows and doors, spotting moisture and missing insulation, identifying over-heating electrical appliances and overloaded circuitry, and seeing in complete darkness or through obstacles such as light fog or smoke.

The phone is built by Bullitt Group and features a 5.2-inch 1080p screen, protected by Gorilla Glass 5 and optimized for outdoor use with either gloves or wet fingers. The new phone is IP68 dustproof and waterproof up to 3 meters for 1 hour. It conforms to the frame requirements of MIL Spec 810G, and it is built to survive repeated drop-tests onto concrete from 1.8 meters. The S61 includes a 16-megapixel camera that can shoot 4K video and an 8-megapixel front-facing camera.

The phone uses the Android Oreo operating system and is tagged to cost more than $1,100, nearly double the price of its predecessor and in the same league with the iPhone X and the Pixel 2 XL. Not cheap, but less than a bulldozer.