Rugged Android smartphones are still a novelty as major handset makers rarely, if ever, launch such products. We’ve seen few models from Samsung and Motorola, and now we have a little known Chinese company called Tintele trying to enter this market.
They’ve been showing off 3 rugged devices at CES, two of which are smartphones.
The Runbo (as in Rambo?) X1 is a IP67-certified feature phone with a 2-inch 176×144 display, VGA camera, laser pointer, GSM/CDMA dual-mode connectivity, loud speaker and software-configurable walkie-talkie. It will be available for 980 yuan or about $160 on Chinese version of eBay called Taobao.
Two other devices, Runbo X3 and X5, are smartphones running Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich. Both devices ship with a 1GHz dual-core processor, dual-SIM capability, 1GB of RAM, 8-megapixel rear camera, VGA front-facing one, HSPA, Wi-Fi, 4GB of built-in storage that is expandable with microSD cards, and a massive 3,800mAh battery. In addition, there’s the mentioned walkie-talkie capability, software-controlled laser pointer and extra-loud speaker.
The difference between the two is in the screen size – the X3 has a 3.5-inch screen with a full QWERTY keyboard below, while the X5 has a big 4.3-inch screen; both displays support WVGA (480×800 pixels) resolution. As for the price, both phones will be available for 1,999 yuan which is roughly $320.
According to Engadget, the Runbo smartphones feel pretty solid though they did noticed that X5’s screen can crack after few drops onto the concrete. The Chinese company’s CEO Jemes Yang said they’re still working on it, and will most likely add another layer of surrounding rubber and plastic to fix this issue. Other than that, these sound like promising products for those who need the extra ruggedness on a daily basis…