Cat B15 wants to be the phone for the rough and tumble set

Cat B15
Time to get dirty

Forget built Ford tough - there's a smartphone charging into the North American market that's truly ready to rumble through the daily grind.

Bullitt Mobile, licensee of Cat phones for Caterpillar (of bulldozer fame) is officially lifting the lid off its Cat B15 smartphone, a $349 off contract device that marks the company's first real foray into the United States.

It looks like a chunk of silver-lined coal, but the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean handset is a feathery 5.99 oz.

The 4-inch WVGA Gorilla Glass screen sits snuggly into 4.9 x 2.5 x 5.9 inch body, and while the 480 x 800 LCD screen isn't eye-popping, the fact it can track a wet finger is nifty enough.

Tough mudder

It's functions like that - and the ability to survive a 5.9-foot drop and submersion in 3.2-feet of water for 30 minutes - that the Bullitt crew hopes appeals to the "work-a-day" set.

"Construction workers, engineers, and anyone who has a lifestyle that's not compatible with an iPhone," said Andreea Marciuc, brand director for Bullitt, told us at CTIA 2013.

"People who have kids, who go to the beach, mountain biking, camping," she continued.

The B15 is certified dustproof and waterproof, and the delicate parts are covered with flaps and metal linings – you don't need to worry about shattering the 5MP rear camera, for example.

Phone vs. phone

Similar drops, different results

The innards - like the MediaTek MT6577 dual-core 1GHz Cortex A9 processor - are shielded by a shock absorbent rubber and silver anodized aluminum.

A VGA snapper occupies the front and the device comes with 4GB internal storage.

The Bullitt team told us carrier partnerships are down the road, with the company looking to become the leader in rugged mobile devices by 2015.

Again, the device comes with no contract and is available online starting May 21 through the Cat website.

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Michelle Fitzsimmons

Michelle was previously a news editor at TechRadar, leading consumer tech news and reviews. Michelle is now a Content Strategist at Facebook.  A versatile, highly effective content writer and skilled editor with a keen eye for detail, Michelle is a collaborative problem solver and covered everything from smartwatches and microprocessors to VR and self-driving cars.