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

Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • jann5s - Monday, February 22, 2016 - link

    Are those yellow things on the front (top and bottom) and back (next to the camera) switches of some kind?
  • icrf - Monday, February 22, 2016 - link

    According to TR, they're for sealing off speakers/ports for when you need to take it 16m underwater.
  • jann5s - Monday, February 22, 2016 - link

    thx for that find (btw it is 16 feet underwater, not meter)
  • Mr Perfect - Monday, February 22, 2016 - link

    Interesting phone. The usual companies' flagships are all very homogeneous these days.

    What's Cat's update record like? Is the phone unlocked? What carriers is it compatible with?
  • nathanddrews - Monday, February 22, 2016 - link

    So does Bullitt repurpose existing phones or just build from scratch? Seems like a smaller OEM like this would have to charge a LOT more for a phone with these features.
  • Murloc - Monday, February 22, 2016 - link

    founded in 2009 in the UK, and they make smartphones and audio stuff for various big brands, so it can't be trash.

    Also this is just the company, who knows who the chinese contractors are?

    I mean, apple has chinese contractors too and they have huge margins, so you probably can get quality products out of china with decent prices if you give up on some of those.
  • Pork@III - Monday, February 22, 2016 - link

    Middle class Hadware for €649 Hmm? China made rugget phones with this parameters for 1/3 of this prise.
  • Murloc - Monday, February 22, 2016 - link

    this is made in china for sure, the EU price is a bit high but the US price sounds good.
    1/3 of the price = 1/2 of the quality quite often, plus you can't find those in Europe.
  • Efen - Monday, February 22, 2016 - link

    They aren't using the FLIR sensor though. Off the shelf price from that is around £120 in single units- even allowing for bulk discounts that is a large proportion of the cost.
  • geekman1024 - Monday, February 22, 2016 - link

    FLIRT Camera.... Nice.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now