Cat B15 Android phone aims to be forklift-tough

Cat's latest rugged smartphone wraps Android Jelly Bean in a sturdy, water-resistant body.

Jessica Dolcourt

Jessica Dolcourt

Editorial Director / CNET Money, How-To & Performance Optimization

Jessica Dolcourt leads the CNET Money, How-To, and Performance teams. A California native who grew up in Silicon Valley, she's passionate about connecting people with the highest standard of advice to help them reach their goals.

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BARCELONA, Spain--Cat (yes, the same Cat of industrial forklifts, tractors, and mining equipment) has announced its latest rugged smartphone, the Cat B15.

Rocking Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, a grooved rubber back, and hard angles, the Cat B15 is aimed for construction and industrial workers. Made of hardened rubber and aluminum, I really liked the Cat B15's shape and in-hand feel even in my bare hands. It's thick and durable, and raised yellow buttons along the side and top are both tactile and visible.

Dust flaps around the headset jack and charging port help keep it waterproof for up to 1 meter in depth for 30 minutes, and dust-proof, both standard requirements for durable phones (specification class: iP67).

Rough 'n' tumble, Cat says the B15 can operate in temperatures from -20 to 55 degrees Celsius (-4 to 131 degrees Fahrenheit) and can withstand up to 6-foot drops (1.8 meters).

Cat B15 Android phone
The ultrarugged Cat B15 Android smartphone. Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

The B15 features a 4-inch touch screen that's capable of sensing your taps and swipes when the face is wet -- so long as your finger is relatively dry. Gorilla Glass tops the display. Internally, a 1GHz dual-core MediaTek processor runs the show.

A 5-megapixel camera and VGA front-facing camera handle your photography and 720p HD video capturing, and a continuous shooting mode is one extra. You'll also find an FM radio preinstalled.

Hands on with Cat's rugged Android B15 (pictures)

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You'll only find 4GB in internal storage, but a microSD card slot lets you expand to 32GB.

A 3G, GSM phone, the B15 stands 4.9 inches tall by 2.7 inches wide by 0.6 inch deep and weighs a hefty 6 ounces. A burly 2,000mAh battery promises to keep talk time going for 16.3 hours.

For a company that knows rugged better than it knows Android, this phone seems to have the goods, including a modern version of the smartphone OS.

It'll sell for 329 euros, beginning with Germany on March 15 before extending to other parts of Europe and the Middle East, likely followed by North America.

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