Smartphones are great for us city-dwelling geeks with our local cafes offering free Wi-Fi and our ubiquitous coverage, but what about our country brethren, who often work solo in dangerous conditions? Sonim is targeting that small sector of the market with its XP3 Sentinel handset.
Drop-proof to two metres, waterproof to one metre for 30 minutes, and capable of working in temperatures from -20ºC to 55ºC, the XP3 has been designed to survive being mistreated.
But the biggest new feature in this generation of Sonim's handsets is the partnership with SafeLinQ', which sees a big red button put on the side of the phone, which a user can press in an emergency:
This causes the user's GPS location to be sent to the monitoring centre, where the position appears on a map with other relevant data. A call is automatically placed to the emergency monitoring centre to summon assistance. After the call, the GPS tracking will continue until the incident is resolved and the phone is remotely reset. On a full battery, GPS tracking can continue for around 24 hours at three minute intervals. For maximum reliability, Sonim has implemented red button capabilities natively in the phone's firmware.
There are also green and amber buttons to indicate when they start or finish working, or for closer monitoring if they are about to do something a little dangerous.
There's no huge spec battle or smartphone interface - you get a 2MP camera with flash, but that's about it.
Personally, I'd be scared of bumping that big red button all the time. But at the same time, it's good to see technology companies providing a solution to a problem, even if the market for that solution is relatively tiny.