Nokia's latest 3720 Classic cellphone can be dropped into a pint of beer, taken into a shower and stored inside a pile of sawdust. But that's nothing compared to the Sonim XP3 Quest 2.0, a mobile phone that can withstand being flung across the room or used as a hammer - and can be heard perfectly over the noise of a jackhammer.
The devices are part of an emerging category of rugged phones aimed at people who are rough on their gadgets - or who just want to project a tougher image. Major handset makers including Nokia and Samsung, as well as specialized handset makers such as Sonim, are counting on these near-unbreakable phones to reach a section of consumers–plumbers, construction workers and truck drivers, not to mention mountain bikers and snowboarders–who may find the iPhone a bit too dainty to use.
"Finally users have a phone they can hammer a nail with or use while wearing a glove ," says Bob Plaschke, chief executive officer of Sonim."Not everyone wants to walk into a store to get the latest touchscreen or a cameraphone. Some people just want a device that is built to last."