Communication and information technology is one of the fields that has seen a major change in the 20th and 21st centuries, and has become one of the fastest evolving fields in the technological world. This advancements have seen the invention and the advancement of a wireless mobile communication device that has affected our social and business life. Most mobile phone companies are slowly morphing from basic mobile phones to the multi-functional smartphone with increased social and business dynamic functions.
However, the increasing demand for smartphones has necessitated the need to cater for niche of persons working in a "harsh" environment. Most smartphone are delicate and when ill-treated, its life span it shortened.The need to cater for these niche, has driven most companies to develop a rugged smartphone.
What is Ruggedized Smartphone?
A rugged smartphone can be described as a smartphone that is specifically designed to withstand certain harsh conditions that are associated with various work places such as building sites, factories and garages, without giving much details to petty conditions such as dust, water and other elements. Most rugged smartphones are designed to be somewhat water proof and dust proof, this ensures that one can still continue to use his/her smartphone even in the presence of such element minimizing the risk of the phones damage when exposed to them. This has greatly aided most people working in these harsh condition to at least have a smartphone with them without much worry of the device being damaged by the harsh environment.
At first the, smartphones were mostly perceived more as an office equipment, and device that was of more use to office workers than the field workers. However, the dynamism with which the smartphone has evolved with has created a certain necessity for the use of these Smartphone even in the harsh conditions. The reservations most smartphone manufacturers had towards creating a phone that was rugged enough to withstand harsh environment disappeared when most noticed that they were of more help to persons working in these environments just the same as office workers. This necessitated the need to cater for the wide gap of this unexplored niche. Smartphones have proved more marketable than most other phones and rugged phones will only increase the appeal of these smartphones in the greater market. Most smartphone come equipped with requisite applications that that are quite helpful e.g. like navigation GPS and Maps, thus the prospects of a rugged smartphones inspires confidence to many hiking enthusiast that they can own a smartphone and hike with it without worry.
Who is Rugged Smartphone for?
Smartphones are small computers, only small and portable. There are many thing you can now accomplish using your smartphone now than you can using a computer, i.e. sending and receiving emails, surfing the internet and managing systems remotely which, is now possible, thanks to the ever advancing generations of smartphones. However, most smartphones are delicate and frail unlike other non-smartphones, they are prone to damage more than the latter, and thus most people fear buying them, especially persons working in harsh environments. A rugged smartphone is more durable than a regular smartphone which is more advantageous. Rugged smartphones are designed to be used by virtually everybody, the sturdy nature of their design increases the chance of the phone surviving when dropped on a hard surface or in water.
Can Rugged Case Replace a Rugged Phone?
To some extent a rugged case will help increase the smartphones durability but it will not give the smartphone some of the capabilities and features that are in an actual rugged phone. Most rugged casing will go as far as protecting the smartphone exterior casing, against shock, and supposedly dust. But some might not be entirely water proof as many smartphones are. Thus rugged casing does not really turn a smartphone into a rugged smartphone. Good example is the Samsung SIII aluminum casing: this casing only protects phones outer casing from scratches and cracks from fall but it does not really make the phone water proof, thus it doesn't make the Samsung Galaxy SIII a rugged phone.
Pros of Having Rugged Phones
A rugged smartphone is more durable that the normal smartphone, this is because it rugged nature and design is meant for tough operating environments. Rugged smartphones can virtually be used by everybody. This means that even people working in tough operating environment can at least own a smartphone and comfortably take it to work without much worry. It will encourage the development of more technical applications that can make work easier for some of these field professions. You need not worry when your child is playing with your phone, the chances that the phone would be damaged are less. You can travel and use your smartphone wherever you go without worry. As a matter of fact it will be more useful, especially for hikers who would benefit more from the phones navigation applications.
Cons of Having Rugged Phones
It is costlier to make rugged smartphones, this meant that the rugged smartphones prices are higher than all the other equal smartphones in the market. However rugged the phone is, it still can't tolerate some working environments, and e.g. where large powerful margent are used. In such an environment the total operability of the phone is still compromised. Currently, there are very few rugged phones models in the market.
So, What is The Best Rugged Smartphone?
The three smartphone manufactures giants, Samsung, Sony and HTC, are try to outdo each other in creating a more advanced rugged smartphone. However, other smartphone manufactures like Motorola, Nokia and Kyocera are in the race too, to unveil the most efficient and powerful rugged smartphones. So far, I believe that Sony Xperia Z is the best Rugged Smartphone in the market. It is water and dust-resistant, however, it does not compromise delicate features such as HD display, 13MP camera and expandable storage. Recently, Samsung has announced its ruggedized variation of its flagship Galaxy S4, and called it Galaxy S4 Active. Galaxy S4 Active is water and dust resistant that is "according to the reports" can submerge in water up to one meter deep for up to 30 minutes. Samsung Galaxy S4 Active will be the main rival for the smaller version of Sony Xperia Z, the Sony Xperia ZR which features slightly less impressive specs than the Xperia Z. Other low to mid range rugged smartphones that I would think of includes Sony's Xperia Advanced, Motorola's Defy Pro, and the Tetra T-pad Smartphone.