back to article Surprise! British phone wins Best Product at Mobile World Congress

When’s the last time a British company won Best Product at Mobile World Congress? In fact it was yesterday - but few people realise how British this product actually is. The rugged CAT S60 phone was one of the most unusual and talked about devices in Barcelona this week, sporting a thermal imaging camera. Although it’s …

  1. djstardust Silver badge

    Great news

    All the better for when we tell Europe to sod off and start making our goods in the UK again.

    1. Geoff May

      Re: Great news

      Since when has being part of Europe prevented UK manufacturing?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Great news

        He'll blame the EU for stopping Land Rover production next. Conveniently forgetting that if they continued building it (even with the UK outside of Europe), they couldn't actually sell it in any European country....

    2. handle

      Re: Great news

      Really? I wasn't aware that we are being flooded with EU-made phones. Never heard of China?

    3. To Mars in Man Bras!

      Re: Great news

      *"...Bullitt designs for brands. With its phones it’s been able to tap into the Shenzhen economic miracle, with rapid advances in engineering and manufacturing in the Pearl River Delta..."*

      Ah. The Pearl River Delta. As British as Finchley!

    4. BurnT'offering

      Re: Great news

      We can start by making suicide nets for the factories

    5. Salts

      Re: Great news

      Bet you also think leaving the EU will mean no more VAT

      1. Roq D. Kasba

        Re: Great news

        Having seen some of the piffle coming from uninformed idiots these past few weeks, you really have to question how some of them breathe unassisted.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Stop

          Re: Great news

          "We can start by making suicide nets for the factories"

          Sigh...not that again.

          Compare suicide rates for the population with that of a mid size UK city and you'll find it's LOWER.

          Just like the Company Towns of old, it just so happens most inhabitants work for the same company, so it's easy to say it's related to the job.

          1. BurnT'offering

            Re: Great news

            That's because those factories aren't located in mid-sized UK cities. FoxConn Sunderland? All bets are off

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Great news

          > you really have to question how some of them breathe unassisted.

          Great insult. Need to write that one down somewhere :-)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    I almost got optimistic then

    until I read the words DAB radio.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: I almost got optimistic then

      Regrettably, DAB radio is a thing in the UK.

      Most people I know listen to 'radio' either at home or in their cars. At home, damn-near everybody has WiFi, and a Chromecast (roughly the same price as a low end DAB radio) will allow a choice of thousands of 'radio' stations to be listened to on any existing audio equipment with an aux-in, plus podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, whatever.

      In my car, Radio 6 Music is the only DAB station worth listening to. However, the DAB signal isn't strong everywhere, and my data allowance (I don't watch YouTube videos in the pub on my phone) means I could listen to 6 Music over 3/4G with about as much reliability as DAB.

      1. Roq D. Kasba

        Re: I almost got optimistic then

        I listen to DAB a lot - Radio 4 extra and World Service aren't available on FM, and the current BBC Radio Player doesn't stream well on my set-up (and all data is over 3G). Perfectly happy with it.

        My hunch is that 'everyone you know' have many similarities to your use case through working together/similar age/whatever - but there are plenty of other use cases.

        1. Roq D. Kasba

          Re: I almost got optimistic then

          Oh cool, a downvote, apparently there aren't any other use cases than one narrow social circle of drivers in one locality?

  3. David 132 Silver badge

    Um...

    Is it just me, or is there a conflict between the sentences

    "We keep hearing British manufacturing is a thing of the past"

    and

    "With its phones it’s been able to tap into the Shenzhen economic miracle, with rapid advances in engineering and manufacturing in the Pearl River Delta, home to Huawei and Foxconn..."

    Sounds more like British design to me, with outsourced-to-China manufacturing. I'm sure most of the added value is in Britain, but it's stretching things a bit to call this "British manufacturing" if the actual phones are stamped out for pennies in Shenzhen.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Um...

      AO supports British industry when he can. In the past he has made the valid point that the dollar value of British manufacturing is higher than ever - it is just that it employs fewer people, because of automation.

      However, he seems to be a bit under the weather at the moment, and has recently written articles on one subject and then slung in a final paragraph about another.

      It has been the case that manufacturing has been done in Asia for decades, but that design was done closer to the end market; Clearly, designers in [Country] have a better understanding of consumers in [Country]. However, as living standards around the world improve, a designer in China can design a device that may past muster in the UK. Really though, if you make enough devices, then the cost of the designer per unit becomes close to zero, so you don't really save money by having your designers in low paid countries. As it is, the most famous product designers are English, German, French, Japanese and Italian and American. As perception plays a role in valuing product design (*not* Industrial Design... akin to Alaister Cooke's observation that "the national dish of America is menus"), I enjoy mulling the manufacturing history of those countries.

      Put another way, if you make enough units of a single model you can throw a lot of money at the design process. Same goes for tooling costs.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Um...

      > Is it just me, or is there a conflict between the sentences

      Not after half a dozen Voll-Damns and a couple ratafias, there isn't.

  4. Len Goddard

    ??

    What, pray, does this mean:

    "manufacturing generates over £6tn in value"

    1. BurnT'offering

      Re: ??

      It means, people make and sell a lot of stuff

  5. DrXym Silver badge

    With built in thermal imaging camera

    I sense a new category of porn has been created.

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: With built in thermal imaging camera

      I sense a new category of porn has been created.

      For those who get turned on by video of amorphous red/yellow/white blobs?

      So HOT.

      1. DrXym Silver badge

        Re: With built in thermal imaging camera

        There are worse things that are people into. WAY worse.

      2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

        Re: With built in thermal imaging camera

        "For those who get turned on by video of amorphous red/yellow/white blobs?"

        According to the blurb the phone can overlay the thermal imager on pictures taken with the conventional camera. This is for practical uses (see exactly where heat is escaping from the roof) but, Rule 34 obviously applies here.

        1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

          Well, I will refuse to watch thermal imaging porn

          I want desperately to hang onto the belief that all those orgasms are real.

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: With built in thermal imaging camera

        "For those who get turned on by video of amorphous red/yellow/white blobs?"

        That's possible, but there may also be a market for HD thermal porn blobs. This may well be the "killer app" to drive thermal imaging quality forward!

        Coat. I need to wrap up warm.

  6. Charles Manning

    Well that puts to bed the eternal question....

    Can Brits design anything that doesn't leak oil?

    Clearly they can.

    1. Sporkinum

      Re: Well that puts to bed the eternal question....

      Wait until they make a Lucas branded phone that runs intermittently and the backlight randomly dims.

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Well that puts to bed the eternal question....

      "Can Brits design anything that doesn't leak oil?"

      Yes, but it's all stuff that doesn't have oil in it.

      In the minds of much of the planet, the 1970s will never leave us, it seems.

  7. John 104

    Want

    This is a nice bit of kit. I want one. But my S5 Active still works great.

    1. Pan_Handle

      Re: Want

      More effectively than your grammar checker apparently

      1. Roq D. Kasba

        Re: Want

        I want one too. Looking at the spec, aside from the screen being a bit smaller than I'm used to, it's pretty much what I want from a phone and then some.

        1. zebthecat

          Re: Want

          Yep, me too

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Want

        > More effectively than your grammar checker apparently

        Or yours? :-)

  8. Mondo the Magnificent
    Pint

    Back on track...

    Great product, I looked at the specs and the only 'flaw' in my eyes is the 1GB RAM, but I'd expect at least 2GB system memory

    The thermal imaging is ideal for my line of work as a data centre ops engineer, especially when some zealous NOC member emails me in regards to a storage array is "overheating" because Controller B hit 33ºC

    My "British designed" Marshall London phone is probably Taiwanese built (I cannot for the life of me find out who manufactures the Marshall London) but again, it's a British design and brand and I love it.. (oh that has 3GB RAM) and although it's not as glitzy as an iPhone or Samsung S6 Edge, it's got some unique features, a Marshall "amplifier" type look and feel on the exterior to the nice lean and clean Lollipop distro.

    Eurocratics and Eurosceptic politics aside, the British manufacturing industry is far from stagnant, it's not as vibrant as some of the Asia Pacific countries, but one thing the British can do well is design, hence Tata keeping both design and manufacturing of Land Rover/Jaguar here in Blighty as a simple example.

    I just wish more British brands would commit to manufacturing within our shores, but everyone loves a bargain and it's all about the price tag... sadly!

    1. MrT

      Re: Back on track...

      The spec on the linked site says 32GB ROM & 3GB RAM...

      "Cat S60 key features:

      Strengthened Die Cast Frame

      Drop proof to 1.8m, MIL Spec 810G

      Super bright display (typical 540 nits), Gorilla Glass 4

      4.7” HD capacitive multi-touch with auto wet finger & glove support

      Optimised battery performance (3800mAh)

      High quality audio experience (>105dB)

      Underwater 13MP main camera with dual flash, 5MP front-facing camera

      4G LTE

      Snapdragon 617 octa-core processor

      32GB ROM, 3GB RAM

      Android™ Marshmallow"

      Also immersion to 5m for up to an hour. It sounds like a pretty well spec'd handset.

      1. JLV Silver badge

        Re: Back on track...

        Sweet. Even the price is reasonable.

        720 x 1280 pixels, from http://www.gsmarena.com/cat_s60-7928.php

        However... RRP €649 / $599

        With the exchange rate at 1.1 USD/Euro, is it customary for Europeans to get "overcharged" by their own manufacturers?

        1. InITForTheMoney

          Re: Back on track...

          EU advertised prices include Value Added (sales) Tax at around 20%, the tax rate varies between about 18% and 25% by country, however if you buy online, you pay tax at the rate of the sellers country, not your own country, so the advertised price is the price you pay and it's simpler for us, because we dont have to think about adding taxes to work out what we pay. In the US, your advertised prices don't include local taxes and you add the tax according to your state, at the point of purchase.

          If you add 20% to the dollar converted price, it comes in at around €651 (based on todays exchange rate of 1.1013 USD to 1.00 EUR), which is the advertised price in Euros. So no... Europeans aren't being 'overcharged' by our manufacturers.

        2. Colin Ritchie
          Windows

          Re: Back on track...

          So £431-511 in real money. I wonder which end of that range the UK will get? £500.

    2. Mondo the Magnificent

      Re: Back on track...

      Oops... I misread the RAM spec... epic fail... *note to self* do not speed read on a mobile screen

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Blast from the Past, 1988

    Nils Martensson Technophone complete with Prince Charles on Tomorrow's World

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icc2pHEj_xg

    I remember this especially the phone's "limiting factor " (watch the video it's worth it), made in Camberley, bought by Nokia in the end.

  10. GrumpyKiwi Silver badge

    Well it's nice and ruggedized. But it's running Android. So that just means that it'd survive my repeated throwing it at brick walls in disgust instead of breaking and being replaced by something with a better OS.

    1. Roq D. Kasba

      Ubuntu FTW, eh? Symbian maybe. Blackberry OS? Firefox?

      Ok I give up.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > Ok I give up.

        What? Before you add VAX to that list?

    2. Christian Berger Silver badge

      I'd hope for that...

      ... unfortunately it looks like future operating systems will become _much_ worse from what we have right now. There's a strong downward trend when it comes to mobile operating systems and the hardware running it.

    3. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      "But it's running Android"

      Apple is not going to make a phone associated with people in hard hats working on building sites. Ever. Their brand image is associated with middle and upper middle class aspirational buyers in white collar jobs.

      The fact that person in the fluorescent jacket and helmet might be a chartered engineer with a doctorate and a directorship of a large civils company would escape the Apple target market, so there's no crossover benefit.

  11. Martin Summers Silver badge

    I didn't think there was anything else they could possibly put in a smart phone that I could want. I was getting quite bored. I really really want a thermal imaging camera!

    1. Roq D. Kasba

      Absolutely. Shame the screen is a bit on the small side, I really want one. Last week I was looking at the FLIR plug-in cameras for Android and Apple devices (appx £200 if you're interested), but this is a far better answer.

  12. Ashley_Pomeroy

    The Mind Boggles

    The last time I read about FLIR I was probably playing Falcon 4.0, the F-16 simulator, dodging Fan Song radars over North Korea. In just twenty years or so we've gone from having GPS and FLIR and radar warning receivers as expensive military or maritime technologies to mobile phone and car accessories.

    Albeit that you can't get flare dispensers for cars, at least not yet. On a practical level it would be fascinating to know what FLIR is useful for. Agriculture? Monitoring server farms? Would these phones be cheap enough to but in bulk and use as static cameras with an internet connection?

    1. Darryl

      Re: The Mind Boggles

      Contractors use FLIR to check for heat loss and stuff on jobsites. Makes sense to put it in a rugged phone for them

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: The Mind Boggles

      What Darryl said.

      Heck, for people with an older house a FLIR camera could quickly pay for itself.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Mind Boggles

      >On a practical level it would be fascinating to know what FLIR is useful for.

      On a practical level, giving builders a phone that makes women appear to be wearing only underwear improves productivity how?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    British Manufacturing or British Design?

    Nice bit of flag waving, but it is made in Britain or *assembled* in Britain? The article clearly states the design takes advantage of Chinese components.

    This takes nothing away from the design engineers, but can it really be described as "Made in Britain"?

  14. Unep Eurobats

    Looks good

    The spec sheet doesn't say but I'm guessing it's fairly chunky.

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: Looks good

      185g, comparable to an LG V10 or an Apple 6+ in a case.

    2. astounded1

      Re: Looks good

      It's not. I own one.

  15. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Pint

    This is one of the coolest phones I've ever seen

    And I've always wanted a thermal camera too. I had a lot of fun borrowing one and taking surreal photos of cars, my home (wow, my house is inefficient), animals, etc.

    I see this is going to be marketed under the "CAT" brand in the US. Not sure if I can afford one though...

  16. Robert E A Harvey

    good looking product

    I fancy one of they

  17. astounded1

    My Cat Phone

    Caught in a torrential downpour three weeks ago on the Devil's Ladder, County Kerry, Ireland, I soaked this unit. I banged it on rocks whilst scrambling to the ridge top. I took spectacular photos out over the Irish coast from the summit of Ireland's highest peak, Carrauntoohil, during a glorious sun break that featured several rainbows.

    I paid $629 USD for it directly from Cat's website. Best investment yet in a mobile device.

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