Cat's thermal smartphone lets you see like the Predator

Cat S60

Caterpillar, a company most known for heavy-duty construction and farm-grade equipment, has unveiled a smartphone that's big on durability and unique features.

The Cat S60 is the latest device in the company's lineup of Android phones built for the services industry to be everything-proof. But, what makes Cat's latest stand out against other smartphones is its built-in thermal camera.

The ruggedized S60 lets you see the world much like Predator, thanks to FLIR thermal imaging technology. Although its inclusion might seem superfluous to those who just want to film their cat or take a casual picture with funky colors, it has real world use cases in the services industry where checking heat signatures is a big part of the job. Of course, it's still fun to just take silly pictures.

FLIR's thermal imaging sensors are currently available as an attachment for both iOS and Android phones, but the Cat S60 is the first smartphone to offer the functionality internally, and it most likely won't be the last. As neat as the inclusion is, the VGA (640 x 480) recording resolution leaves a lot to be desired. However, the main camera sensor can shoot 13MP photos with its rear-facing camera and 5MP with its front-facing lens.


FLIR sure looks cool, but it's super low-res

Cat also claims its S60 is the world's most waterproof phone, capable of surviving while submerged under five meters (about 16 feet) of water for up to an hour. This amount of protection eliminates the worry of an accidental drop and gives you more than enough time to rescue it from the aquatic depths. And while you're down there, you can shoot some rad underwater thermal footage.

Novel features aside, this phone isn't for everyone. It's best suited for those in the services industry, who often find themselves in a situation that demands performance, durability and practicality over a slim, smooth handset. That said, this phone offers a few things most consumers will find appealing, like Android Marshmallow support, a hefty 3800mAh battery and a screen that works even while wet and used with gloves, although it tops out at 720p resolution.

The Cat S60 will be available in late May for $599 (about £418, AU$838), which places it in the high-end of the price spectrum for smartphones. However, this could be a good solution for those who are in need of a Marshmallow-compatible phone, as well as the FLIR thermal attachment, which runs for $249 (about £173, AU$348) by itself.

Via The Verge

Cameron Faulkner

Cameron is a writer at The Verge, focused on reviews, deals coverage, and news. He wrote for magazines and websites such as The Verge, TechRadar, Practical Photoshop, Polygon, Eater and Al Bawaba.