Britain might not be known for its mobile phone industry but one of its car industry icons, Land Rover, is hoping to change that by launching a smartphone aimed at outdoor enthusiasts.
The company has teamed up with Bullitt, a Reading-based phone maker, to release a Land Rover-branded mobile boasting a large battery, advanced GPS and a rugged design hoping to cash in on the carmaker’s four-wheel drive heritage.
The £599 Android device, which will go on sale in April, is designed to deal with extreme temperatures and water and is aimed at skiiers, mountaineers and hikers frustrated at their regular smartphones running out of battery halfway through a day.
The “Explore” phone has even been designed to bear Land Rover hallmarks such as its bumper, grille and roof lines, with its camera representing a headlamp.
Bullitt’s Charlie Henderson says that while modern phones have become slimmer and sleeker, this has come at the expense of durability, with one in three being broken in a lifetime. He said the Land Rover phone, which has been developed with the carmaker, was designed for outdoor types that need extra features and longer life.
The phone has a battery that lasts around two days but comes with an attachment that extends this to four days and adds a more powerful GPS antenna that improves accuracy.
The phone is pre-loaded with a handful of apps such as ViewRanger, an advanced navigation tool that uses Ordnance Survey maps and augmented reality features that allow users to hold up their phone to see what mountain they are looking at. Its battery has also been calibrated to withstand the “thermal shock” of rapid changes in temperature and work between minus 20 and 50 degrees centigrade.
“We see the growing customer dissatisfaction with the fragility of their mobile phone and the poor battery life in particular, preventing them from using their mobile for key parts of their day to day life,” Bullitt’s chief executive Peter Stephens said.
Bullitt has also made rugged phones under the CAT brand as well as releasing a Kodak-branded phone in 2016. Land Rover has previously lent its name to smartphones but they have since been discontinued.