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JCB Shows Off Rugged Phones for U.S. Market

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 12 comments

Rugged phones are nothing new, but rugged phones that can take the weight of mechanical diggers and float on water? Those are impressive.

While shuffling around the show floor at CES Las Vegas this afternoon, we happened by the JCB booth. JCB manufacturers heavy duty construction equipment, so we were surprised to see that they had three phones at their booth. Fittingly designed for use on construction sites, these phones are nothing like the delicate touchscreen smartphones that have become so popular over the last couple of years.

The Toughphone line consists of three handsets. First up is the Tradesman, which JCB claims is the world’s first floating cell phone. It’s waterproof, dustproof, IP67 certified, packs Bluetooth, an FM Radio, a 1.44-inch colour display, and a torch. It currently retails for about $116 in the United Kingdom. 

Next is the dust- and water-resistant Sitemaster, which features a 2-inch TFT display, Bluetooth 2.0, a torch, and a laser pointer, and can withstand up to one ton of pressure and a 2m drop. The guys at the booth said they drove over it with one of their diggers (pictured above) and that the phone survived just fine. It currently retails for about $178. 

Also on show was the flashier Pro-Talk (below right), which is perfect those who need a ruggedised handset but don’t want to revert to dumphones completely. Also dust- and waterproof, this little guy has a 2.2-inch touchscreen display, Bluetooth 2.0, a 2-megapixel camera, GPS, support for dual SIMs, and an addition eight channel two-way radio. Unfrotunately the extra features come at a price, and this phone is the most expensive of the three by a long shot. It’s currently retailing for £254.99 in the UK, which translates to about $396.

None of these phones are available in the U.S. at the moment, but JCB says it’s in talks with U.S. distributors and carriers and the company hopes to bring it to this side of the pond in the near future.

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  • 0 Hide
    thisisaname , January 9, 2011 8:03 PM

    It currently retails for about $116 in the United Kingdom.

    We use pounds in the UK not dollars
  • 1 Hide
    JMcEntegart , January 9, 2011 8:05 PM
    ThisisanameWe use pounds in the UK not dollars

    That's the dollar equivalent of the UK price.
  • 0 Hide
    dogman_1234 , January 9, 2011 8:56 PM
    JCB's! In America!
  • Display all 12 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    loomis86 , January 9, 2011 10:27 PM
    no thanks. I only use ruggedized clamshell phones.
  • 0 Hide
    cyprod , January 9, 2011 10:49 PM
    hehe, jane called it a torch, how british.
  • 1 Hide
    THEfog101 , January 10, 2011 1:28 AM
    JMcEntegartThat's the dollar equivalent of the UK price.

    oh snap!
  • 0 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , January 10, 2011 3:58 AM
    talk about heavy-duty!
  • 0 Hide
    runswindows95 , January 10, 2011 4:19 AM
    I can see Sprint offering these as Nextel phones since a lot of construction companies use Nextel.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 10, 2011 11:24 AM
    there's more than one tough phone
  • 0 Hide
    eddieroolz , January 10, 2011 4:36 PM
    Looks like a walkie-talkie!
  • 0 Hide
    g00fysmiley , January 10, 2011 5:48 PM
    would LOVE to have a durable phone... but im curious the specs on the smartphone one and th os guess 'll have to research that later, but could be promising as I've replaced my pre 3 times so far due to breaking it
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , January 11, 2011 5:36 PM
    I've had a JCB tough phone for over two years now and I can say that it does exactly what it says on the tin, which is not a lot! If all you do is text and phone then it's fine, but if you want more from a phone forget it. It's built like a brick, so is heavy and huge by todays standards, you could probably kill someone with it if you threw it at them hard enough.

    The first time someone calls you or sends you a text you will jump out of your skin, it's made for noisey environments so you could say it's just a little on the loud side. I've dropped mine many times and never been worried about using it in the rain, so far it's been bulletproof.

    You should also be aware if you live outside the UK that they are in fact made by a company called Sonim but done in jcb colours, they offer a no quibble parts and replacement warranty should you happen to damage the phone.
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