Cat B15 is one tough Android smartphone

Caterpillar is joining the tough phone race with the launch of the Cat B15, a 4-inch Android handset designed to withstand a hard life.

With an IP67 rating, meaning it’s waterproof and impervious to dust (within given parameters), the Cat B15 will also survive a drop on to concrete from 1.8 metres (that’s around head height for most men), as well as operating at temperatures down to -20C.

With those sorts of credentials it should survive life in the great outdoors, or just the sort of environment that Cat’s vehicles might be found rolling around in. Thanks it its protection, the Cat B15, isn’t a waif-like device, measuring 125 x 69.5 x 14.95mm and weighing 170g, and finished in anodised aluminium and rubber.

In terms of specifications as an Android device, it doesn’t hit the highest of highs, as the 4-inch display has a slighly sub-average 800 x 480 pixel resolution. It is, however, topped with Gorilla Glass and gives you wet-finger tracking, so while it might not be the sharpest tool in the box, it will get the job done.

Driving the phone is a dual-core 1GHz processor and 512MB of RAM, so you can’t expect this to be the fastest phone out there, and the rear 5-megapixel camera tops out at 720p video recording.

But this phone isn’t about hitting all the high-points on the spec sheet, it’s about surviving when other phones would get smashed. It’s not alone in these lofty aims, with several devices now offering waterproofing in some form, but it looks as though it will survive those accidental bumps and scrapes better than something like the Sony Xperia Z.

Ending on a positive note, the Cat B15 comes with Android 4.1 out of the box, so it's up to date and ready to serve you all the goodness from Google Play.

The phone is actually built by Bullitt Mobile under licence from Caterpillar Inc, and will be available from March 2013, for £299 or €329. Given the specs, it sounds reasonably good value for money.