Motorola this week launched its first ruggedized smartphone, the MC35. Wait, don't run! This ruggedsized smartphone is actually not ugly. In fact, as far as ruggedized devices go, it's stylin'.Motorola calls the MC35 an EDA (or Enterprise Digital Assistant) and is targeting it at businesses with employees that hover between mobile office tasks and field mobile workers (i.e. technicians and sales people).
The MC35 runs on AT&T's network and the two companies are working together to sale the smartphone. The MC35 has wide area EDGE voice and data access as well as built-in GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. The MC35 is designed to give users access to mobile e-mail, messaging, Web access, location-based services (LBS), and push to talk (PTT).
The MC35 is, I think, a sign that the consumer effect -- the impact of consumer behavior on enterprise IT -- is impacting even the ruggedized vertical mobile market. The MC35 has a lot of consumer functionality and frankly, it's designed to look better than a lot of legacy rugged handhelds. It's no Pearl, but I wonder how long until we see a rugged fashion phone.
ADD ON: For a look at the MC35, and the other newest smartphones at CTIA, check out this image gallery.