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Caterpillar B15 Rugged Smartphone Headed to U.S. for $349

Caterpillar, the maker of heavy-duty construction equipment, has announced that its B15 Android phone is headed to the U.S. market. Rated to survive a 6-foot drop onto a concrete surface, this $349 beast looks like it would be right at home on any construction site. The device is made of  silver anodized aluminium and shock absorbent rubber, which helps limit damage.

Naturally, we had to go hands-on with the Caterpillar B15 to see just how durable it is.

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To test the B15's durability, we dropped it onto the floor of the Sands Convention Center here in Las Vegas. The first thing you'll notice when you drop the phone is that the rear panel pops off if it isn't locked in place. Once we reinserted the B15' battery and replaced the rear panel, the phone was working like a dream. Of course, if you lock the rear panel, you won't have to worry about it popping off when you drop the phone.

In addition to its durability, the B15 can also survive in up to 1 meter of water for upwards of 30 minutes. That should more than cover the occasional spill or drop into a puddle.

The Android Jelly Bean-powered B15 packs a 5-inch 800 x 480 display, a 1-GHz dual-core Cortex A9 processor, 1GB of RAM and 4GB of onboard storage. Cameras include a 5-megapixel back camera and VGA front camera. Alas, the B15 is a 3G only device. In truth, the Caterpillar B15 matches up nicely with Kyocera's recently unveiled Hydro Edge handset. The Edge is much slimmer than the B15 but it's not drop resistant.

While the B15's specs may not be earth shattering, the main purpose of this phone is to be durable. And from what we can tell from our short time with it, the Caterpillar B15 delivers.