The Reason for Rugged

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At Kyocera, we like to talk about our phones as being “Rugged for a Reason,” but saying “a reason” is a tad misleading. There’s more than a single reason for going rugged – and every business and individual has reasons of their own. From performing reliably in harsh environments to withstanding events that would normally lead to damage to the screen, battery and beyond, rugged devices are changing the way we think about mobile devices – and changing how we use them. As technology marches forward, our world shrinks. Increasingly, it is shrinking right into our pockets. It wasn’t that long ago that smartphones were a luxury. Today, they’re close to a necessity.

According to Pew Research, more than 75 percent of Americans now own smartphones. We rely on these devices for everything from keeping in contact to accessing information to mapping a route to taking pictures, video and beyond. We seem to spend more time with our smartphones than we do with anything – or anyone – else. These often-fragile devices, however, are traditionally unreliable when it comes to taking on the bumps and bruises that come with constant usage, and with life itself. But rugged devices are on the rise, and Kyocera is leading the way with a portfolio of devices that aren’t just built to survive where other phones fail; they’re built to thrive.

There are many reasons to go rugged, including:

Rugged for Harsh Environments

 Not everyone works behind a desk or a counter. Industries like construction, manufacturing, transportation and law enforcement work in harsh and unpredictable environments every day. For these industries and others, rugged devices are a critical tool for executing everyday business, and have been for some time. Rugged devices have been around for years but, until recently, they were typically built specifically for enterprise organizations, and required a large-scale investment. In the last several years, however, a new generation of devices brought ruggedized features into more attractive devices sold by nationwide carriers at prices comparable to standard mobile phones. In other words, rugged is available to everyone today.

While technology has changed, the reasons for utilizing rugged devices in harsh environments have not. Businesses and workers require devices that can not only withstand the environmental challenges they face every day, but also continue operating at full force without missing a beat. Every second of downtime costs businesses money. That’s why companies rely on dependably rugged Kyocera devices to ensure business moves continuously forward. Kyocera’s rugged devices are designed to meet IP68 for dust- and waterproofing and Military Standard 810G for protection against hazards like dust, shock, vibration, temperature extremes, blowing rain, low pressure, solar radiation, salt fog, thermal shock, icing and freezing rain, humidity and water immersion. Devices like the Kyocera’s newest rugged smartphone, the DuraForce PRO, don’t just survive, but thrive in challenging environments with features Glove and Wet Touchscreen Operation and Underwater Mode.

 Rugged for Business

Industries that involve harsh environments aren’t the only ones taking advantage of deploying rugged devices to enhance field operations. From optimizing logistics to utilizing big data to make informed, real-time decisions, rugged devices are opening new doors for a variety of businesses. In the modern economy, data is king. Collecting, distributing, parsing and acting on data drives the decisions of businesses every day, in real time. Mobile devices are the conduits for the flow of information. It is imperative that they stay connected – and functional – 24/7. Kyocera rugged devices make sure they do, with long battery life, 4G LTE connectivity and rugged designs able to stand up to what life, and business, throw at it. 

Rugged for Life

Life is full of obstacles and people are clumsy. That’s the reason mobile-device insurance and repair businesses are booming. At some point, just about everyone dunks his or her phone in the toilet, drops it on the concrete or submerges it in the mud. We’ve become so accustomed to having a smartphone in our pocket at all times that we tend to treat them more like a leather wallet than an expensive computer. And considering we use our smartphones more than we use our wallets (in fact, some people use their smartphones as their wallets), our devices are in grave danger every single day. It may seem hyperbolic, but it’s true.

Aftermarket cases and plastic screen protectors can help blunt the damage from short drops and bumps, but the amount of protection they offer is often tied directly to price and sacrifices usability. Strong cases typically approach (or even exceed) $100 and often hinder accessibility to buttons and ports. Truly rugged devices like Kyocera’s offer similar protection right out of the box, without the cost of a clunky case or the sacrificed usability.

Rugged for Adventure

Life wasn’t meant to be lived sitting down. The desire to get outside and play is wired into our DNA. Whether you’re mountain biking in the Rockies, skydiving over the Mojave or hiking the Appalachian Trail, certain rugged devices – like the Kyocera DuraForce PRO – are built for adventure. With a 13-megapixel camera and a super-wide-view HD action video camera, the DuraForce PRO enables adventurous users to capture the excitement and relive memoires for years to come. There’s even a case available for DuraForce PRO that lets it mount to today’s most popular action-camera mounting systems, so users won’t have to worry about holding the phone as they bomb down the mountain or reel in the trophy fish. And of course, active consumers should always make sure their devices have the rugged features built to withstand the harshest environments, to be confident that their smartphones will survive the adventures, regardless of how perilous they may be.

When it comes to rugged devices, everyone has a reason. What’s yours?

Kyocera’s DuraForce PRO Available Now at T-Mobile, Making it Available at the Nation’s Four Leading Wireless Service Providers

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From positive press reviews to outstanding customer feedback, the Kyocera DuraForce PRO has been making waves in the wireless industry since it was announced in August of 2016, and last week was no exception. With T-Mobile’s launch, DuraForce PRO is now available from all four of the leading service providers in the U.S., also including Verizon, AT&T and Sprint. Available now, the DuraForce PRO can be found in T-Mobile retail stores nationwide and online through the company’s web site for $425.00 (or $17 down and 24 monthly payments of $17), which includes a 2-year manufacturer’s limited warranty.

The latest in Kyocera’s leading portfolio of military-grade rugged, waterproof devices, the DuraForce PRO is the only rugged 4G LTE smartphone with a Super Wide View HD (1080p) Action Camera, which offers an Underwater Mode and can be integrated with popular action-camera mounts. New to the T-Mobile version of the phone’s action camera is an Action Overlay mode, in which action videos can be recorded with a heads-up display of data options including speed, distance traveled, g-force, altitude, elapsed time and date/time stamp.

The DuraForce PRO is designed for both business users and active consumers, with dependable durability that can withstand harsh environments and mishaps. It is shockproof, drop-proof, and dustproof, with certifications to IP68 (waterproof up to 30 minutes, up to 2 meters deep) and Military Standard 810G for protection against dust, shock, vibration, temperature extremes, blowing rain, low pressure, solar radiation, salt fog, humidity, immersion, temperature shock and icing/freezing rain.

Along with a biometric fingerprint sensor built into its power button for security, the phone is equipped with a large 5-inch Full HD display and a Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ octa-core processor (1.5GHz x 4/1.2GHz x 4) with X8 LTE and multi-mode to ensure fast connections on diverse global networks. In addition to the phone’s new Super Wide View Action Camera, DuraForce PRO also offers a 13MP rear camera and 5MP front camera.

All of us at Kyocera have been thrilled with the customer response and growing popularity of the DuraForce PRO, and we are excited to now be able to provide T-Mobile customers with a durable, rugged device with advanced features, like the high-definition action camera. Additionally, customers across all four major carriers can now enjoy the dependability of the DuraForce PRO at an affordable price point. Visit www.kyoceramobile.com/duraforce-pro for more details on device availability with leading wireless service providers, as well as to learn how you can benefit from Kyocera’s rugged, durable and affordable mobile devices.

 John Chier is director of corporate communications at Kyocera. He has worked on the Kyocera team shaping its communications strategy over the past 15 years – 13 of those years in-house and two with a Kyocera agency partner. John has always had a passion for writing and began his career as a newspaper reporter at the Whittier Daily News, part of a multi-paper syndicate in Los Angeles. When not working, he and his wife can usually be found coaching, shuttling, refereeing or cheering for his three sons and their numerous plays.

RUGGED IN ACTION: KYOCERA RUGGED SMARTPHONE SURVIVES ALMOST TWO YEARS LOST IN THE WILDERNESS

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Cory Burwell, the man behind adventure motorcycling site Wandering Beast, understands the value of using a durable, waterproof phone while riding a motorcycle in the wilderness and across the country. A couple years ago, Cory lost his ruggedized Kyocera Torque smartphone from Sprint while riding in central Oregon, and wasn’t sure if he would ever see it again. Despite putting up signs in an attempt to retrieve his lost device, his Torque sat outside for a year and a half – through a winter, two summers and all sorts of weather conditions – before being found. When a passerby eventually found it on the ground, the phone rescuer was able to plug it in, turn it on, and, amazingly, the phone still worked without a hitch. Cody’s brother-in-law—who received a text from the person who found the phone—alerted him that it had been retrieved and was still working flawlessly.

Kyocera recently found a video that Cory created and posted about his experience with the rugged Kyocera Torque. (This was not a sponsorship or advertisement.)  In it he says, “Hands down, I would not hesitate to get one of these at all… If you’re into adventure motorcycles and you need a new phone, and you don’t really need to be the coolest guy in the office that has the iPhone 7-and-a-half, and you just want a good, sturdy phone that works and that has all of the same features and runs Android and everything else, look into the Kyocera Torque or one of their other ones… I wouldn’t consider any other phone for my adventures.”

Kyocera cannot recommend or warranty against these types of situations with our devices – they are not meant to take abuse to the extent that Cory’s phone did – but this is just another real-life success story we have found that embodies the rugged, durable value of our mobile devices.

Watch Cory’s video describing his incredible story here:

Sapphire: Strong Enough for Jewelry, But a Match Made in Heavy for Tech Products

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When we think of sapphires, most of us think of the expensive gemstones used in jewelry, but many people do not know sapphires actually have had a wide variety of industrial applications for hundreds of years. Why would companies want to use such an expensive mineral in their technology products? First and foremost, sapphire is incredibly durable, behind only diamond as the second hardest mineral, scoring 9.0 out of 10 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. It is also a very chemically stable mineral. Sapphire’s durability and chemical stability has made it ideal for use in precision mechanics, timepieces, displays and more, across many different industries.

Real sapphire – which is a variety of the mineral corundum, an aluminum oxide – saw its first industrial application more than 300 years ago as jewel bearings in high-end mechanical timepieces. While this was costly, longevity and accuracy were worth the high price of these components. These types of timepieces were built to pass down from generation to generation.

The first man-made sapphire was produced as far back as 1902, using a process of grinding natural aluminum oxide into powder and then heating it to 3,761°F. While most sapphires used in jewelry are colored, this is actually due to impurities in the mineral. Without any impurities present, sapphire is a completely clear material. It has high strength, anti-abrasion and anti-corrosion characteristics, good light transmission, and can be processed into sheets, all of which are ideal for clear device displays, such as smartphones, watches, microwaves, projectors, as well as precision tools and other electronic components.

Kyocera has been producing and utilizing man-made single-crystal sapphire for electronic components for more than 40 years. Some of the uses for sapphire include watch lenses, inspection equipment parts, medical diagnostic equipment parts and chamber windows. More recently, Kyocera began developing pure sapphire displays for its leading portfolio of ruggedized smartphones. Perfectly suited for rugged devices, sapphire displays have proven to be incredibly resistant to scratches and damage that often blemish smartphones. Once reserved for luxury phones costing thousands of dollars, only in the past few years have smartphone manufacturers begun using sapphire displays in mass-market phones, and Kyocera was the first.

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Kyocera’s Sapphire Shield Display technology is now used on multiple Kyocera smartphones, including the Kyocera DuraForce PRO at Verizon. Our Sapphire Shield helps protect devices by:

  • Resisting ongoing, minor scratches and micro-fractures. When you pay hundreds of dollars for a smartphone, you don’t want the touchscreen display to be degraded and ruined over time by ugly scratches and cracks. As phones sit in pockets and purses, however, that’s exactly what happens when they get scraped by keys, coins and other hard objects. At Kyocera, we like to show off the durability of our Sapphire Shield display by testing it with steel wool, knives, coins and other common display-killers.
  • Enhancing the long-term integrity of the display. Think of how glass is typically cut. Rather than actually cutting all the way through a sheet of glass, traditional glass cutters simply score the glass so it can be broken along that same score. Similarly, scratches and micro-fractures in a phone display weaken its integrity over time by preparing it to be more easily broken along those fault lines.

Sapphire displays cost more than typical hardened-glass displays, which explains why they were historically used only in high-end luxury phones. Kyocera, however, has gotten past that issue and used sapphire displays in devices costing far less than today’s most popular smartphones. It’s a win-win for everyone involved, but especially for the phones’ users, who can worry less about cosmetic blemishing and long-term failure (i.e., shattering) of their displays.

For more information about Kyocera’s Sapphire Shield Display technology, visit: https://www.kyoceramobile.com/sapphire-shield/ and for details on other applications of Kyocera sapphire technology, visit: http://global.kyocera.com/prdct/fc/list/material/sapphire/index.html

John Chier is director of corporate communications at Kyocera. He has worked on the Kyocera team shaping its communications strategy over the past 15 years – 13 of those years in-house and two with a Kyocera agency partner. John has always had a passion for writing and began his career as a newspaper reporter at the Whittier Daily News, part of a multi-paper syndicate in Los Angeles. When not working, he and his wife can usually be found coaching, shuttling, refereeing or cheering for his three sons and their numerous plays.