Rugged Motorola smartphones that are drop-proof and shockproof are set to launch soon, under manufacturing licence with noted rugged device manufacturer, Bullitt. Under brand partnership between Bullitt and Motorola, the former will cash in on Motorola’s history of rugged devices, which has included smartphones such as the first IP67-rated Android phone (the Motorola Defy), and of late, Moto’s ShatterShield technology with the Moto Z Force and Z2 Force. Bullitt has, in the past, manufactured rugged mobile phones for iconic (but non-smartphone) brands such as the engineering giant Cat and the off-roading pioneer Land Rover, among others.
In their media statement announcing the partnership, Dave Carroll, executive director of Motorola’s strategic brand partnerships, said, “Bullitt has distinguished itself as a leader in rugged mobile. These devices have broad appeal, from outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers to consumers who just want an ultra-durable phone. We look forward to working with Bullitt to rugged-ise our products, allowing the Motorola brand to be present in a new and growing segment of mobile phone users.”
Device specific details, however, have not been announced yet, but should be revealed by March-end, the joint statement by Motorola and Bullitt says. Rugged smartphones have always been a niche breed, but they’ve always carried a certain type of appeal. In a world of increasingly swanky screens and pristine glass/metal builds, rugged phones bring the sort of invincibility that drivers of the first generation Tata Safari would feel in a world of Premier Padminis. However, the added bulk of these rugged smartphones mean that they aren’t exactly universally appealing.
What would be interesting is to see if Bullitt and Motorola manage to find the right balance between looks, usability, performance, features and ruggedness. If they manage to do so, many users may even be willing to pay a slight premium for a smartphone that won’t have the concern of breaking apart if it falls from the fourth floor of your balcony (accidentally, of course). Bullitt and Motorola have said that the two will “combine expertise” behind the smartphones, but further specifics will only come along later.