A tough, rugged, ultra-compact mini-smartphone for out there in the field where you don't want to risk your expensive big-screen consumer phone
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)
Cedar Tree Technologies, launched in 2014 by the founders of Juniper systems and partnering with leading industry software providers, provides rugged Android tablets, handhelds and smartphones for the construction and similar industies. One of their initial products is the tiny, ultralight CMP1 mini-smartphone, with a mini price to match.
With Samsung, Apple, Motorola et al gunning to outdo each other with ever larger phones, it's easy to forget that just a few years ago, state-of-the-art phones couldn't be small enough. Good news: anyone longing for a something as small and handy as phones used to be should look at Cedar's CMP1 mini phone, and especially so if they need something tough and rugged, and, oh, also inexpensive. Like $149, unlocked.
To get a sense of just how small the CMP1 is look at the picture on top of this article rather than the large closeups above. The little phone measures just 3.54 x 1.8 inches. That's less than a third of the real estate taken up by an iPhone 6+. It's also less than half an inch thick and it weighs just 2.5 ounces. That means that the screen, of course, is tiny, too: 2.45 inches diagonally. Yet, its 432 x 240 pixel resolution makes for 192 dpi, which is quite sharp, sharper by far than the original iPhone. In the past, phones with small displays used hardware keys or a stylus to navigate, but with the CMP1 it's capacitive touch.
What sort of technology can you expect from a phone this small? In the engine compartment is a 1GHz dual-core Cortex A9 MediaTek MT6575 processor that's based on the ARMv7 instruction set and also includes an PowerVR SGX531 GPU. This chip was specifically designed for smartphones. There's 256MB of RAM and 128MB of ROM, plus what's in the SD card slot. There is a 2.0mp rear-facing camera. 3.33 watt-hour battery is user-accessible and replaceable.
For wireless communication there's 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0, and GSM cellular radio, but no GPS. Wired communication includes a micro-USB port, located at the bottom and protected by a rubber flap together with the power jack, and a 3.5mm audio jack. While the CMP1 seems to have dual GSM SIM slots, Cedar specifies only one.
The CMP1's housing and construction are simple. There are plastic front and rear parts with protective black overmolding. The back has a cover with impressive-looking screws, but it really just snaps on. Underneath are the battery and underneath that the SIM card slots.
For hardware controls, power on/off is on top, along the left side are volume controls. The three standard Android control buttons (Menu, Home, Back) are beneath the display.
In terms of ruggedness, the CMP1 has a tough outdoorsy look like that of some outdoor cameras and tools for the job. And thanks to its overall design with the hard plastic shell, protective overmolding, as well as its small size and very light weight, the CMP1 can probably take quite a bit of abuse without actually having the usual MIL-STD-810G testing to prove it. Cedar claims IP65 sealing, which means it's totally dustproof and can also handle low-pressure water jets from all directions.
So what's the overall picture with the tiny Cedar phone? We're not talking state-of-the-art tech here. No dual cameras, 4G or LTE or even GPS. The CMP1 is just a tough little GSM Android phone that fits absolutely everywhere, offers the full Android experience, and costs just US$149, unlocked! That makes it perfect to have out there in the field. For calls, texting, pics, music, apps, though not necessarily web browsing or anything that needs a larger screen or more bandwidth.