Land Rover Launches 'Outdoor Adventure Smartphone'

Yes, it's waterproof.

Land Rover

Cars are slowly turning into smartphones on wheels, but Land Rover is trying to make smartphones more like its cars. The Land Rover Explore is a phone the automaker claims is as tough as a Discovery.

Designed in concert with electronics manufacturer Bullitt Group, the Explore is a lot like a Land Rover, in that it offers more capability than the average person will probably ever use. It was drop tested to 1.8 meters (5.9 feet), and can survive immersion in salt water. The phone can also "cope with extreme temperatures, humidity, thermal shock, and vibration exposure," according to Land Rover.

The Android-equipped Explore has a 5.0-inch Gorilla Glass touchscreen that works with gloves or wet fingers, said Land Rover. The standard 4000 mAh battery pack can keep the phone running for an entire day with the screen and navigation on, according to Land Rover. An optional add-on pack doubles battery life.

The first batch of phones will have the optional Adventure Pack, which includes the add-on battery pack, a ceramic GPS patch antenna, and a stronger protective case. Pricing starts at 649 euros ($800), and the phone will be available to order through a dedicated website or select retailers beginning April 26. Land Rover has designated retailers in the U.K. and Germany but did not specifically discuss U.S. availability.

Automakers sell all sorts of branded merchandise (Ferrari ashtray, anyone?) so it's not surprising that Land Rover would want to slap its name on one of the most popular consumer products around. But that doesn't mean buyers will trust a Land Rover-branded phone over one from, say, Apple or Samsung, or that users won't look ridiculous when they whip out the rugged, ultra-durable Explore while waiting in line at Starbucks.