The ruggedized smartphone market is small, but not so small that it's ignored. Admirable entries like the Samsung Rugby Smart and the Casio Commando might not have all the bells and whistles of their flagship contemporaries, but they take a licking and keep on ticking. Phone retailer Wirefly decided to put Sprint's Kyocera Torque (Bear Grylls approved!) through its paces via some decidedly extreme tests: a drop from two stories, hibernation in a block of ice, and most dramatically, a trip through a 30-minute washing machine cycle.
Who wants a new "lifestyle device?" You know, those phones and tablets that cater to a very niche, and usually pretty small, market. Like Samsung's new Galaxy Xcover 2, for example. This ultra-ruggedized device is made for extreme conditions. It's waterproof for up to 30 minutes at a meter deep, dust/sand-proof, and crazy-durable. It can even take pictures under water! Seriously, that's pretty cool.
Aside from the ruggedized shell, the Xcover 2 also features an "enhanced GPS + GLONASS which shortens the satellite signal detection by up to 20% to tracks your location more accurately," along with a "massive 1,700mAh battery" (really, Samsung, we need to talk about what 'massive' actually means).
Although I've dropped a phone a total of about three times in my life, and although manufacturers are continually touting more and more durable glass, polycarbonate plastic, and even metal that's 3x stronger than stainless steel, there lingers in the back of my mind the question of what may happen if and when that fateful day comes – the day when I finally drop my phone onto an unforgiving concrete, asphalt, or otherwise hard surface.
Sony loves making stuff that's hard to break. The Xperia Active was probably the pinnacle of this obsession (see: hilariously awesome video), but now that Sony has decided to make pretty much all of its phones look exactly the same, it's out with the old, in with the new.
The Go and Acro S are the newest additions to Sony's rugged family, and for rugged phones, they don't look nearly as god-awful ugly as almost everything else in that segment of the market.
Have you ever been in a situation where you needed a rough-and-rugged case for your Galaxy Tab 10.1? How about a simple, elegant business solution such as a folio case? Today we're going to be taking a look at two such cases: The DropTech case from Gumdrop and the Candy Convertible from Gumdrop's sister, Hard Candy.
These two cases couldn't be more different; the DropTech is a rough, tough, tank-of-a-case designed to protect your Tab from almost anything, while the Candy Convertible is a very simple folio case that just offers the most basic protection.
I hate phone cases. When I bought my Nexus One back in March of 2010, the first thing I did with my very first smartphone was head over to Amazon and start searching for a cool and convenient way to protect it. So I bought some leather ordeal with a flip cover and all sorts of gimmickry, and I hated it. I used it for 2 days, and since then, it has occupied my box of unwanted electronics and related accessories.
Motorola XOOM owners, listen up. Rather than keeping my XOOM protected with the very rugged Defender case from Otterbox that I reviewed last month, I'm going to give it away to one of you, as you probably need it more than me.
Otterbox is one of the top brands in the case business, and I'm sure this $90 shell that can withstand a nuclear attack will find a nice home.
From today's "probably should have seen it coming" pile, Engadget has come into possession of what looks like a presentation slide for a ruggedized Android tablet being developed by Motorola:
I know, the text is illegible, so here are the main points to take home:
7" capacitive LCD
1GHz dual-core TI OMAP processor
1GB RAM, 8GB NAND onboard storage
Android 2.3 Gingerbread
8MP rear camera, 1.3MP front camera
Stylus for signature capture
Removable battery good for 5.5 hours of video
Can withstand 4' drop onto plywood (oak, cherry, ash, maple certifications pending)
Works in temperatures of 0-50 degrees Celsius
Tons of enterprise-friendly security
This device is clearly targeted towards business, and probably specifically towards businesses with employees out in the field, where the tablet's ruggedized nature will protect it from the harsh, plywood-filled world.
Motorola was kind enough to hook me up with one of their latest handsets, the Motorola Defy. Here's a video primer for the review that all your friends will be talking about tomorrow. If you read the review without it, you'll be in the dark:
The Defy is, put quite simply, a great device - and excluding Motoblur, the bane of many Android users' existence, the thing flies. It admittedly doesn't have much "WOW" factor after you're done throwing it at your wall and into a bathtub, but it doesn't really need it.