The world's third-largest construction equipment manufacturer, UK-headquartered JCB, has unveiled three new handsets in its Toughphone range - Tradesman, Sitemaster and Pro-Talk. All the devices are positioned as "second phones" because "you wouldn't want to drop your iPhone or your new Nokia N8." Good point! Leila Makki reports.
Serial entrepreneur Peter Jones has been collaborating with JCB since the first Toughphone was launched in 2007. The device which sold 250,000 units in the UK was officially recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as the "world's toughest phone." Jones told TelecomTV that this new lineup, unlike the original device, is not targeted specifically at construction site workers. Instead JCB is pitching the devices as "second phones" that are necessary accoutrements for an "active outdoors lifestyle" and ideal for things like sailing holidays.
The Tradesman - although not the most rugged in the collection - wins bragging rights for being the world's first floating mobile handset. "The fact that it floats means you can't lose it," said a company spokesperson. Wanna put a bet on that?
JCB says the Tradesman is 100 per cent waterproof and dust-proof and features a 1.44" colour screen display, equipped with Bluetooth, FM radio and a torch. It will retail for £69.99 SIM-free.
Next in the suite is Sitemaster, named after one of JCB's toughest machines.
This phone can withstand up to a ton of pressure and will still work after being dropped from two metres. It is water- and dust-resistant and comes equipped with a laser pointer, torch and wind-up charger. The Sitemaster will cost around £109 with a two-year warranty.
Last but by no means least is the JCB Toughman Pro-Talk dubbed "the smartphone of toughphones," although it's not really all that smart as smartphones go. This high-end model is the favourite of Mr. Jones. "This is a second phone for when you are going away skiing or sailing for the day", he enthuses. He admits though that "this is not a replacement handset - people will continue to go for the shiny nice devices."
The Pro-Talk comes with a dual-SIM, 2 megapixel camera and GPS. The touchscreen phone is 100 per cent waterproof and dustproof, has a built in 8-channel 2-way radio and can hold up to 8GB of memory. It will retail for £249.99 with a 3-year warranty.
JCB equipment is, of course, painted bright yellow. It's not known if the new handsets will be available only in the corporate colour or if consumers will have a bit more of a choice.
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