Kyocera is one smartphone manufacturer that could care less about beating the competition on specs. It makes cheap phones that either won't receive updates or won't get them until long after you've given up hope. But the handsets are affordable, and many of the later models tend to be pretty rugged.
Samsung's Active line of phones have been dull but reliable machines for the last few flagship generations, and it looks like they're bringing them back for another round. GSMArena has posted photos of what definitely looks like a Galaxy S6 Active, and we've been able to confirm that this is what the phone will look like (with a very small margin of error) thanks to a secondary source.
When we talk about Motorola, we usually mean Motorola Mobility. That's the company that makes phones, while Motorola Solutions is a telecom and equipment maker. They were both spun off from the classic Motorola Inc., but now we have reason to talk about Motorola Solutions. This entity will be announcing an Android device on October 21st. Neat.
Mountain climbing! Off-road biking! Skiing! Climbing trees! All of these activities are simply too extreme for your current smartphone, or so Cat (nee Caterpillar, the bulldozer people) would have you believe. Their latest Android-powered rugged phone is the S50, announced today at IFA in Berlin and boasting mid-range specs with a body that looks like it's designed to shrug off shrapnel. It's the follow-up to Cat's B15, a phone durable enough to survive an encounter with a front-end loader.
So far Samsung's "Active" mini-series has exactly two devices, the Galaxy S4 Active and the Galaxy S5 Active. (Three, if you count Sprint's S5 Sport variant.) At IFA 2014, the company is expanding its ruggedized horizons into the tablet world with the Galaxy Tab Active, an 8-inch device with the same IP67 water and dust protection, plus a chunky body that can resist drops of up to 1.2 meters (four feet).
Update: Verizon's specification page has been changed to indicate that the LG G Vista has an "HD" screen. It looks like there was an error in the original spec list. We're going to assume that means that it's a 1280x720 screen.
Looking for a mid-range phone on Verizon? Then you've got two more choices starting today. The LG G Vista, an enormous "phablet" device, and the Kyocera Brigadier, the latest in the company's line of "tough" phones, are both on sale now at Verizon's website.
Most mobile devices will run out of juice before you do after heavy use, so external battery packs are sometimes a necessity. New Trent sells many such devices and has just announced a new one. The PowerPak Xtreme is a gigantic battery that's built to last. If only your phone was that rugged.
This device quietly went on sale a few weeks ago, but is only being made official today.
The Huawei Honor smartphones have been straightforward affairs, with the original being nothing to get excited about unless you were shopping on a budget and wanted something functional enough to do more than check Facebook (though considering how bloated the Facebook app is, even doing that is no small feat). However, we did consider it an example of what a budget phone should be, and the sequel was an improvement in every area - except for price.
Samsung's tougher brother to the flagship Galaxy S4 is a pretty poorly-kept secret, with multiple leaked photos, videos, and different sets of specifications coming out weeks before its announcement. Samsung confirmed the device today in a press release coinciding with Computex, painting a picture of the S4 Active as a device that mostly matches the Galaxy S4 for power and capability, with the ruggedized design seen on some of Samsung's Rugby smartphones.
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.