Struggling handset manufacturer Nokia has seen its fair share of problems, highlighted by extreme downsizing and mass layoffs. However, Nokia's turmoil has launched a series of promising startups; one of which is Adaia, a 16-person initiative led by ex-Nokia employee Heikki Sarajarvi, which is working on a new rugged smartphone that can withstand the toughest environments.

"I was so fed up. I can't be the only one who is destroying these smartphones doing completely normal things," Sarajarvi said while explaining his motivation behind the venture. Unfortunately, premium devices also come with premium price tags. Early reports suggest that the handsets will cost anywhere between $1,300 and $6,500.

The Android-powered handset is expected to release in 2014 and is targeted at adventurous individuals. The phone can supposedly function while submerged under ten meters of seawater, as well as at altitudes that exceed 9,000 meters. To further its image as an emergency device, the new handset will have a unique SOS feature. With the touch of a button, users are connected to an emergency response team via a satellite network. This means that distress calls can be sent from virtually anywhere, regardless of whether a cell tower is nearby or not. The initial version will only support outgoing satellite communication; however, the Adaia team hopes to add two way connectivity to the next rendition of the device.

According to Engadget, Finnish publication Digitoday recently received a prototype of the Adaia smartphone. Although the publication has yet to release any photos of the device, they did explain some of its characteristics. Digitoday claims that the phone has a 4.8 inch screen and weighs between 240 and 250 grams. Comparing this weight to other handsets currently on the market, this is definitely on the high side. Digitoday also mentioned that the device will be able to have its battery hot-swapped without ever turning the phone off.

It will be interesting to see how the device fairs in the competitive smartphone space. Will Adaia successfully corner the premium niche, or will its extravagant prices take a hit on sales?