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Caterpillar S60 Brings Thermal Imaging to Rugged Phones

by Neil Mawston | Feb 21, 2016

The new CAT S60 rugged phone, soft-launched this month and available mid-2016, is among the first in the US and worldwide to have a thermal imaging sensor built into the handset. It a landmark technological event.

Our WDS (Devices) service wrote a few weeks ago about thermal phones and their growth opportunities, here.

The S60 is a premium Android Marshmallow model with a 3800mAh battery, LTE, Qualcomm processor, 4.5-inch Gorilla screen, 13MP camera, waterproofing, and a FLIR Lepton sensor.

FLIR has been right at the forefront of the emerging thermal-sensing trend and should be applauded for integrating its components into mobile phones before most of its major rivals.

Caterpillar should also be applauded for adding a cutting-edge feature to its rugged phones that many competitors, like Kyocera, do NOT have.

We expect the S60 to be targeted initially at blue-collar staff, such as construction workers or oil pipe-layers. For example, is a window-seal on your new house leaking hot or cold air. Is the oil pipe or machinery close to overheating.

Of course, there will be challenges for the S60. First, the cost of the model is fairly high. Second, its distribution channels are relatively limited. Third, CAT's brand equity in mobile is low, similar to issues faced by JCB phones in the UK. Fourth, rugged phones for niche enterprise or prosumer segments typically sell in modest volumes. And fifth, the S60 is not the slimmest phone in the world, at around 13mm.

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