Ruggedised handset maker RugGear is to become an original device manufacturer for the first time, with its first own-brand phones hitting the market next month.
The Singaporean company previously operated as an OEM but is now targeting the enterprise and business market with its devices.
Steven Westley, director of its UK operations, told Mobile: ‘Our main target is the B2B retailer. We’re still not that well branded, and just sell the phones on what they can do. We won’t go looking for deals with the operators as a lot of our products are dual-sim, so we want to sell straight to businesses.’
The company said its flagship device, the RG960, is the first handset running Android Ice Cream Sandwich with a 4.3 inch screen to be completely dustproof and waterproof. The handset will be targeted at construction workers who need to take on-site photos and has an 8-megapixel camera and dual-sim capability. Westley said: ‘The phone is a proper workhorse. The glass is so tough you could literally hammer nails into it.’
The range also includes the RG128 Mariner floating handset and the RG930 device, which has a push to talk feature and a Mandown setting, which sends an automatic alarm if its user, who frequently works alone, was to fall.
Westley said the company had identified a gap in the market to supply ‘quality, tough’ smartphones. While Samsung, Sony, Motorola and Sonim offer their own ruggedised handsets, Westley said the company has worked hard on differentiation. He said that while it has moved into producing handsets under its own brand, it would still work on acting as an original equipment manufacturer. He said: ‘Dual-branding is a possibility for us. We can offer companies their own store locator and brand name. No other manufacturers can do that. It would be good if we could get into market with a well-known company and build the brand from there.’