Thermal imaging is useful for a range of tasks, from military night ops to finding and fixing poor insulation in buildings. Most of these are commercial activities, though, because thermal-imaging cameras aren't cheap.
However, a British company called Bullitt wants to bring thermal imaging to the masses with a new smartphone. Now, there have been infrared attachments for smartphones in the past that turn them into thermal-imaging cameras, but this is the first phone to have thermal imaging built in.
If you're interested, the phone is being branded and sold by Caterpillar as the Cat S60. The thermal imaging unit is from FLIR, which is the leader in thermal-imaging cameras.
In addition to the thermal camera, the S60 is built to be rugged. It has a die-cast frame, is drop-proof to 1.8 meters, meeting MIL Spec 810G. It has a 4.7-inch Gorilla Glass 4 screen, 13MP rear camera, 5MP front camera, 32GB of storage (expandable with a memory card), 3GB of memory and runs Android 6.0. In addition, it's waterproof to 5 meters for an hour, which means you could use it as an underwater camera.
Bullitt does expect most of the buyers for the phone to be professionals, including engineers, firefighters and law enforcement. But it also believes that 50% of smartphones will have thermal imaging built in within a few years. That's why the price tag on this phone is actually a reasonable $599.
That sounds like a lot, but, in comparison, the iPhone 6s starts at $649. Standalone FLIR thermal cameras start at $700 and can run into the thousands.
Of course, if you want to add thermal imaging to your existing iPhone or Android phone, the FLIR ONE add-on is only $250. However, if you're in the market for a new phone, however, and want thermal imaging, give the Cat S60 a look.
Does this look like a phone you'd be interested in owning? Let us know in the comments.