Caterpillar, a company known for their rugged heavy construction equipment, made headlines in the construction technology world in 2016 when they released the first ever smartphone with a built-in thermal imaging camera, the CAT S60. The company announced on Thursday that its ultra-rugged flagship smartphone would be getting an upgrade with the upcoming release of the new CAT S61.
First and Foremost, the CAT S61 will still feature a FLIR Thermal Imaging camera, but it gets an upgrade from VGA to High-Definition detail to achieve much crisper lines and also bumps it’s temperature range up to a whopping 752F (400 degrees Celsius). That additional temperature range will help assist users in vehicle diagnostics, asphalt monitoring, and other high temperature tasks in addition to other common uses for thermal imaging. A thermal imaging live streaming option allows the user to connect with co-workers and online communities to help them diagnose issues in real time.
On top of the thermal imaging upgrades, the S61 is also getting an indoor air quality sensor which will alert users of high concentrations of Volatile Organic Compounds, which are commonly referred to as VOCs, and Humidity. Humidity can affect the quality of concrete when curing and dry time of other materials.
Another tech upgrade the new phone features is a laser assisted distance measurement function that can measure up to 30 feet (10m) and calculate area. With a small range of distance, that function will mostly be used by residential and remodel contractors.
The IP68 rating of the phone makes it dustproof and waterproof up to 3 meters deep for 60 minutes. I’m not sure why, but the S60 was also rated IP68, but was rated to be waterproof up to 5 meters deep for 60 minutes. 3 meters for 60 minutes should still handle all your needs on a jobsite, though. The phone is also drop tested onto concrete for up to a 6 foot drop (1.8m) and resistant to thermal shock for up to 24 hours in temperature between -22F and 149F.
Other features of the phone are a 5.2” screen, a massive 4500mAh capacity battery (for reference, the Samsung Galaxy S8’s have a battery capacity of 3000mAh), a touch screen compatible with wet fingers or gloves, a 16MP rear camera, and an 8MP front camera. The S61 continues to operate on the Android platform, as the previous models have.
Although CAT’s name is on the phone, they don’t actually manufacture it themselves. The Bullitt Group, an England based mobile phone manufacturer, infuses CAT’s “DNA” into the phone, which is intended to highlight the durability, reliability, and quality of the product.
The new CAT S61 will be available sometime in the 2nd quarter of 2018 and will retail for $999. More information should be available on the CAT Phones website soon,