CAT S60 smartphone comes with a built-in FLIR thermal camera

Remember that awesome FLIR sensor that Jeff got for his iPhone? Much like the GAU-8 Avenger is so awesome that the military decided to build the Warthog around it, CAT (Caterpillar) decided to make a phone around that FLIR cam. Nod politely to the badass CAT S60 phone.

Let's get the bad news out of the way real quick. The S60 is very bulky at almost half an inch thick, and its screen is a 4.7" unit with a resolution of just 1280×720. Those are two relatively minor drawbacks given the phone's intended usage, though.

See, the S60 is built on a die-cast steel frame, and CAT says it can withstand drops onto concrete from 5.5' high (around 1.8m). Its screen is quite bright at 540 nits, a spec that'll probably make it usable in broad daylight (or as an impromptu searchlight). The display uses a resistive touch sensor, so it can be used with wet fingers or gloves. It's covered with a sheet of Corning's Gorilla Glass 4.

The S60 is waterproof, and CAT claims people can even go diving with it for an hour at 16' deep (5m) by flipping some switches on the back to seal off the phone's speaker, headphone, and microphone openings. Battery capacity is a very meaty 3,800 mAh, which in combination with the 720p screen should let the S60 work for quite a while before it needs to charge up. The handset's built-in speaker can produce a claimed 105 dB of noise, almost as loud as Nigel Tufnel's Marshall amp.

The back of the phone is also where you'll find the FLIR Lepton sensor. That unit can work with tandem with the 13MP back camera to provide crystal-clear heat maps. The S60 also packs an NFC sensor, a barometer, and an altimeter. Its GPS system can work with the Russian Glonass and Chinese Beidou satellite networks, too.

A Snapdragon octa-core SoC powers the device, which comes with 32GB of storage and 3GB of RAM. The front selfie snapper is a 5MP unit, and the whole thing runs on Android Marshmallow. Caterpillar will be selling the phone "later this year" for $599, or 649€ in Europe.

Comments closed
    • FireGryphon
    • 4 years ago

    I just got another phone, but I will happily purchase the mk II version when my ‘contract’ is up in a couple years. I want a phone that is sturdy, has good battery, and is thick but not large.

    • cynan
    • 4 years ago

    It looks pretty cool. However, I’m a bit disappointed that the screen isn’t at least 5″. This screen is just a hair larger than the one on my old Galaxy Nexus – which looks pretty tiny compared to my current phone.

    Also, what’s with the gap between the screen at the camera at the top of the phone. Kinda looks like it’s only their so they had somewhere to stick an extra CAT logo (like you’d miss the tiny one on the back).

    • davolfman
    • 4 years ago

    The FLIR camera actually makes a lot of sense, not as much for initial construction, but for repairs. An thermal camera is a pretty common tool for tracking down things like broken pipes behind walls. I could easily see half the insurance adjusters in the country wanting one of these.

    • Ninjitsu
    • 4 years ago

    Finally! A phone for engineers, designed and made by engineers.

    I hope they’re still making these phones by the time I have enough money to actually buy it. 😀

    • FranzVonPapen
    • 4 years ago

    This sounds great, except for the resistive touchscreen. Didn’t see that mentioned in the press release.

    Still, might tempt me away from an iPhone in an Otterbox!

      • Ninjitsu
      • 4 years ago

      Apologies for the thumbs up, but:
      [quote<]4.7” HD, a-Si AHVA, direct bonding, Gorilla® 4, [b<]Capacitive Multi-Touch[/b<], Wet Finger/Glove auto switch support, Sunlight readability (typ. 500/min. 450 nits), AF coating (anti-finger print)[/quote<] From the spec sheet linked here: [url<]https://www.dropbox.com/sh/oec23yhssoplabg/AAAQl2LFwpYt98BvLzKtT4Ela?dl=0[/url<]

    • spugm1r3
    • 4 years ago

    I have a family member that works for Cat and, if Cat makes it (shirts, belts, jackets, boots, etc…), he owns it. It’s only a matter of time before I get to fool around with one of these, first hand.

    • Shouefref
    • 4 years ago

    At least THAT phone won’t bend!

      • Ninjitsu
      • 4 years ago

      But will it Blend?

    • Shouefref
    • 4 years ago

    A sturdy phone for people who do sturdy work.

    Isn’t CAT that bulldozer company? Looks like they have made a phone suitable for people on building sites.

      • Pez
      • 4 years ago

      It is yes. A friend of mine who lives on a farm can’t wait to get one, he’s broken 3 “unbreakable” phones in the past 2 years.

    • rechicero
    • 4 years ago

    Dont care about the FLIR (could be fun to have though), but correct size, sane resolution (less res = more battery), good battery, rugged. Much more useful than those slim phone that end up being more thick than this one when you add the essential cover… and without sacrificing battery life for that virtual slimness.

    Would love something like this. But I wonder why it seems like less than 5″ 1440p screens and more than 8 mm thick is looked as a “minor disadvantage”. At the very least should be just a feature for some ppl (like me).

    Oh, btw, I see in the pictures a SOS button. That seems useful for a lot of ppl too. Much better phone (to me) than any flagship I can think of right now. Only comparable to the Sony Z3 compact.

    • matic
    • 4 years ago

    First thermal nude video leaking in 3…2…1

    • jaywalk
    • 4 years ago

    “Its GPS system can work with the Russian Glonass and Chinese Beidou satellite networks, too.” The term you’re searching for is GNSS, Global Navigation Satellite System. That covers any satellite based navigational system.

    A suggested improvement: “It’s GNSS receiver doesn’t only work with USAs GPS, but Russias GLONASS and Chinas Beidou too.”

    By the way, don’t the press release state Galileo support? The EU financed Galileo system is finally starting to have enough satellites to be useful.

    • TwoEars
    • 4 years ago

    Now this is my kind of phone.

    • albundy
    • 4 years ago

    now you can see if workers are sleeping in the port-a-potty!

    • Deanjo
    • 4 years ago

    Love the hardware, just would like for it to offer more like optical tach, RMS multimeter and a simple oscilloscope capability (without some clumsy plug module into the USB port). If they added that then I could even learn to live with the Android OS. It would live in my toolbox and be handy on the farm.

    (They would sell a ton to mechanics/farmers/electical workers.)

    • Laykun
    • 4 years ago

    It just want the FLIR camera on my Note 5 for use in the GearVR, that’d be awesome!

    • ronch
    • 4 years ago

    THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN!

    Reading your comments here it really looks like people want rugged phones, never mind svelt. Someone big in the press should nudge phone makers to come out with rugged phones that also look sci-fi (no, that doesn’t mean we go back to the early 2000’s styling era). I think Casio also used to make G-shock phones. I saw them and they look badass. Would really be cool if my next phone looks like a military class phone, not a phone for the prom.

      • NovusBogus
      • 4 years ago

      I’ve long thought about transplanting the internals of a decent smartphone into an ultra-badass cast aluminum shell, unfortunately it’s efforts and I’m lazy.

        • Voldenuit
        • 4 years ago

        Why cast when you can mill?

          • NovusBogus
          • 4 years ago

          The machine shop guards their CNCs pretty zealously, but I have access to casting stuff through other means. Plus I’d be doing a lot of iterative prototyping (free access to industrial 3D printers is niiiice) so it’s kind of a no-brainer to use the one I’m happy with as a casting model.

    • ronch
    • 4 years ago

    I’m getting tired of phones that sacrifice battery capacity and durability for the sake of being svelt. Bring on thick, rugged phones!

    • brucethemoose
    • 4 years ago

    Add a 1080p OLED + a SOC that isn’t an octa A53, and this would be my dream phone.

    Heck, I’m still considering this over an S7/G5/6S…

    • DragonDaddyBear
    • 4 years ago

    Why does it take a brand that is so masculine to make a phone so reasonably sized?

    • Chrispy_
    • 4 years ago

    [quote<]Let's get the bad news out of the way real quick. The S60 is very bulky at almost half an inch thick, and its screen is a 4.7" unit[/quote<] This is not bad news. Modern phones are pointlessly, stupidly thin - to the point that most of them cannot survive a weekend of camping without some third-party power bank. If 10 years ago someone said "this phone only lasts 16 hours on batteries" they'd have been laughed out of business. Also, 4.7" is a fantastic size for a phone screen. You can actually use it with one hand, which is a struggle for most people with phones over 5" The fact that you are citing a decent-sized battery and usability as downsides is somewhat amusing, perhaps I'm getting old and just want to use my phone as a communications device rather than a mobile cinematic games console 😉

      • morphine
      • 4 years ago

      Well, all your points are valid, although I think it’s still safe to say that half an inch is a little bit “too much.” And I use these quotes because that thickness has a purpose in this handset.

        • thedosbox
        • 4 years ago

        My last two phones were a HTC Incredible S (11mm) and Moto X (10.4mm). Half an inch (12.5mm) would be perfectly fine by me for increased battery life – especially 2-3 years down the road.

      • ronch
      • 4 years ago

      It’s not just the battery. For the sake of being thin most phones sacrifice durability. My Asus Zenfone 6 disconnects the microSD card at the [u<]slightest[/u<] pressure (like wiping the screen to remove fingerprints) it's maddening! Come on phone makers, a little thickness is not bad at all if it makes the phone more durable and have a bit more juice. Oh, and wasn't it Apple that started this trend?

    • moose17145
    • 4 years ago

    I do not think I have ever been more interested in a new phone than I am at this very moment.

    Why are more phones not designed like this?

    Has a semi decent battery (could always be better… my current S5 has a 8500mah extended runtime in it), water proof, sounds like it is built around durable chassis and has a speakerphone and touch screen that might actually be worth something (there are things that matter more than res to me on a phone).

    Oh and that “bulk” you speak of is what will actually make it comfortable to use and handle. My S5 when I got it was so wafer thin before I stuck the 8500mah battery into it that it was utterly uncomfortable to use and hold onto and my hands would actually cramp up trying to use it. Adding a bit of girth and size to it not only massively improved battery life, but also made it comfortable to use and hold onto. And I would hardly say I have big hands.

      • Mr Bill
      • 4 years ago

      I want one! The durability and features are a great combo and I sure don’t need a phone the size of an ipad.

      • NovusBogus
      • 4 years ago

      Agreed, this is pretty much the phone I’ve always wanted. Now if only they’ll make a 15.6″ laptop with comparable features and price I’ll be a happy lad.

        • moose17145
        • 4 years ago

        Agreed on being the phone I want with awesome features. I am also a huge fan of the FLIR camera! I have so many things I could use that on! None of which would be things I would honestly need to use a FLIR camera on…

    • bthylafh
    • 4 years ago

    That’s a surprisingly not-terrible price for what they’re offering.

    • Voldenuit
    • 4 years ago

    Want!       

    • meerkt
    • 4 years ago

    Non-recessed or covered lens aren’t very heavy duty. It barely works for “normal” phones.

    The non-oversized size is good.

      • Chrispy_
      • 4 years ago

      At least the lenses are flush.
      Most phones are so needlessly thin that the camera has to protrude, vulnerably.

        • meerkt
        • 4 years ago

        Oh, that’s not a real problem. You’re anyway supposed to buy a 3rd party “armor” that will add at least 50% phone thickness on each side, so the lens actually ends up recessed.

    • Thrashdog
    • 4 years ago

    Given that most of the builders and contractors I know carry their phones in comically-chunky Otterboxes, a 1/2″ thick frame will seem svelte to them by comparison. This looks like a phone that’s pretty well-designed for its target audience.

      • DPete27
      • 4 years ago

      I think all phones should be designed this way and it seems silly not to….except to keep the phone case market segment afloat.

      Same goes for waterproofing. Should be standard.

      I don’t care what kind of glass you put on it, if you drop/slide that sucker on concrete with the screen glass being flush with the front of the body, it’s gonna scratch. Sometimes I’d like to meet product designers…

    • Forge
    • 4 years ago

    I want one.

    Make sure the source is available, plz Cat. Thx.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 4 years ago

    This is the first not-terrible news to come out of Caterpillar in a long time, considering how they’ve laid off so many people in my area the last several months (CAT HQ is in Peoria, IL).

    Edit: Looks like it’s just CAT-licensed, according to the linked PR. Probably something the big yellow tractor company wanted for itself and then figured it could make a buck selling.

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