Land Rover launches modular smartphone for adventure-seekers
- Land Rover announced details for a durable smartphone designed for the rugged outdoors that can withstand extreme temperatures, thermal shock, humidity and saltwater immersion, according to a press release. The phone was developed with U.K. electronics firm Bullitt Group and will be unveiled at next week's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.
- The Android-powered handset has modular attachments for different activities and will sell for about $800. It has constant GPS navigation on its durable glass touchscreen, which can be controlled with wet fingers or while wearing gloves.
- Apps related to outdoor activities come already installed on the device, which connects to Land Rover vehicles via Bluetooth. The home screen has a customizable dashboard to access weather forecasts, wind and tide information, a compass, SOS light and topographical maps with augmented reality (AR) features. The phone will be available to order in April 2018 online and at select retailers.
Land Rover's rugged smartphone is another way for the maker of SUVs to extend its brand into the mobile market while appealing to a target audience of upscale outdoor enthusiasts. With the overall smartphone market showing signs of reaching maturity as sales slow, some like Apple — with its $999 iPhone X — and now Land Rover are hoping to find an unmet need for supercharged phones by offering an array of unique features that cater to consumers in higher income brackets.
The phone was designed by Bullitt Group, which also developed a rugged phone for construction brand Caterpillar, to handle more extreme conditions such as being dropped or plunged into water or mud. The starting price includes an Adventure Pack that has an extra battery pack and more accurate GPS capabilities to appeal to adventure-seeking consumers looking for a connected mobile device that can keep up with their active lifestyle.
Featuring designs drawn from the aesthetics of the Land Rover Discovery vehicle, the smartphone lets users gain functionality and durability without having to sacrifice the modern capabilities and style of other mobile devices on the market. The hope appears to further consumers' loyalty to the car brand, as the phone doubles as a device that connects to and controls features in Land Rover vehicles.
Land Rover isn't the first — and likely won't be the last — to issue modular phones. Motorola and Google have tried out similar devices that offer swappable attachments to fit different needs, but consumers have yet to embrace them. Land Rover's phone, however, is a bit different because its modular attachments are tied to specific activities that all surround the broader theme of outdoor adventures, such as biking, along with additional protective cases and battery packs to ramp up durability and longevity for consumers looking for a phone that can keep up with them.
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