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printed December 13, 2017
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Cricket to Sell Alcatel QuickFlip Feature Phone for $30

Nov 1, 2017, 8:53 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cricket Wireless today announced the pending availability of the QuickFlip, a simple feature phone made by Alcatel. The QuickFlip is already being sold by AT&T as the Cingular Flip 2. It includes a 2.8-inch screen, 1,350mAh battery, Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 processor with 512 MB of memory and 4 GB of storage, and a 2-megapixel camera. The phone includes support for WiFi and LTE, and can make VoLTE-based HD Voice calls over Cricket's cellular network. Other features include a loud speakerphone, FM radio, productivity apps (calendar, calculator, email), GPS, Bluetooth, and color outer display. The Alcatel QuickFlip goes on sale November 10 for $30.


Hands On with the Alcatel Idol 5 for Cricket

Sep 28, 2017, 3:00 PM   by Rich Brome

The Alcatel Idol 5 is a $200 Android phone with a premium design carved from metal and curved glass. It has a few unique features like a reversible display and a theme creator that uses the colors the camera sees. It also has a few extras like stereo speakers, USB-C, and NFC. It's also designed to work with a new VR headset from Alcatel. We check it out in person and share our impressions in this hands-on.

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Alcatel Idol 5 Offers a Premium Design for $200

Sep 28, 2017, 3:00 PM   by Rich Brome

Alcatel today announced the Idol 5 for Cricket Wireless. The Idol 5 is a $200 Android phone with a premium design that marries a solid metal body with a curved glass front. Its hardware features include front-facing stereo speakers, NFC, a USB-C connector, and a customizable shortcut key. On the software side, it has several features that make the phone fun to use, such as a Color catcher app that automatically picks three colors from what the camera sees and generates a new interface theme based on those colors, including new wallpaper and icons. The 12-megapixel camera includes several creative modes, such as light trace, cinemagraph, and instant collage. It also works with Alcatel's new UNI 360 VR goggles. Alcatel's new VR Home app for the UNI 360 lets you run Google Cardboard VR apps with extra features like the ability to receive notifications and see the room around you without leaving VR mode. VR Home is exclusive to Alcatel Idol phones. The Idol 5 also has a 5.2-inch full-HD display, MediaTek Helio P20 processor, 2GB of RAM, an 8-megapixel front camera, Android 7, memory card slot, and a 3.5mm audio jack. It will go on sale with Cricket on October 27th.

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FCC Reveals the Alcatel Idol 5

Aug 2, 2017, 6:44 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Documents recently published to the FCC web site show what is likely the Alcatel Idol 5, which has not yet been formally announced by TCL. A device with the model name 6058 was cleared by the FCC for operation in the U.S. The model number is very close to that of the Alcatel Idol 5S, which is the 6060. Further, the draft user manual included in the FCC documents refers to the device as the Idol 5. The photos clearly show a semi-premium device with glass panels and a metal frame, and the Idol brand is etched into the phone casing. A camera, flash, and fingerprint sensor are located on the rear of the phone, while a user-facing camera is plainly visible on front. Other aspects shown in the FCC's images include a 3.5mm headphone jack, SIM/memory card tray, and microUSB port. The draft manual suggests the phone runs the Android operating system, which is common to Alcatel phones, but does not reveal any other features of the phone. The FCC documents confirm the 6058 supports Bluetooth and WiFi, as well as several LTE bands used by U.S. carriers. Despite the branding, the 6058 does not appear to be a smaller version of the Alcatel Idol 5S. It doesn't include stereo speakers, nor the same design language as the Idol 5S. This breaks with Alcatel's device naming conventions over the last few years. TCL has not officially shared details concerning the 6058.


Cricket Offering 2 Lines of Unlimited Service for $80

Jul 20, 2017, 4:04 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cricket Wireless today annouced new service and handset promotions meant to entice customers to sign up for the prepaid carrier. To start, Cricket is offering new and existing customers two lines of unlimited service for $80 per month. That includes unlimited mobile data, messaging, and voice calls. Cricket caps data speeds at 3 Mbps, and will throttle unlimited customers who exceed 22 GB of data per billing period. In addition to the new service promo, Cricket has a number of deals on smartphones. For example, the Alcatel PulseMix is $80 with a new activation, or just $30 with a port-in. Similarly, the LG x charge is $130 with a new activation or just $100 with a port-in. Other phones with available discounts include the ZTE Sonata 3 and Blade X Max; LG Fortune, Harmony, and Stylo 3; and the Samsung Galaxy Amp 2. Cricket said the promos are available for a limited time.


Sprint to Sell BlackBerry KEYone from July 14

Jul 13, 2017, 1:45 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint today said that the BlackBerry KEYone smartphone will go on sale July 14. It will initially be available online and via telesales. The phone won't reach stores until later this month. Sprint is charging $528 for the handset, or $22 per month on a payment plan. The KEYone, made by TCL, the parent company of Alcatel, combines a 4.5-inch touch screen with a physical QWERTY keyboard. Other features include a Snapdragon 625 processor, 12-megapixel camera, 3,505mAh battery, and Android 7.1 Nougat with BlackBerry's DTEK security suite.

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Vertu to Close Up Shop

Jul 13, 2017, 12:03 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Vertu is through. The company plans to shutter its doors and jettison some 200 employees, according to the Financial Times. Vertu started out as the luxury arm of Nokia. It took Nokia handsets and dressed them up in fine materials, such as precious metals, leather, and jewels. Nokia sold the outfit in 2012 and it has bounced between a number of owners since. Vertu was most recently purchased by Turkish businessman Murat Hakan Uzan. Vertu has about $157 million in debt, though it recently signed a deal with Chinese phone maker (and Alcatel parent) TCL. The Financial Times did not say when Vertu might permanently close up shop. Vertu did not comment on the Financial Times' story.


Cricket to Sell Alcatel Pulsemix Starting July 21

Jun 28, 2017, 8:31 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cricket Wireless today said it will carry the Alcatel Pulsemix beginning next month. The Pulsemix is a rebranded version of the Alcatel A5 LED / A50. The Pulsemix is unique because it is compatible with several modular, snap-on accessories called Snapbaks. The most interesting Snapbak features an LED-covered panel that can blink a few dozen LEDs with color. Other modular accessories include a snap-on stereo speaker and a snap-on battery pack. These Snapbak modules are sold separately. The Pulsemix has a quad-core MediaTek processor with 2 GB of RAM, 5.2-inch HD screen, 13-megapixel main camera, and a 5-megapixel selfie camera. Other specs include Bluetooth, FM, GPS, and WiFi radios, and a 2,800mAh battery. It runs Android 7. Cricket is selling the Pulsemix for $80, though it will drop the price to $30 for those who port their number to Cricket. The phone reaches Cricket stores on July 21. Alcatel is selling the unlocked Pulsemix / A50 online via Amazon starting July 10.


Amazon Loads Up Its Roster of Prime Exclusive Phones

Jun 27, 2017, 9:15 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Amazon today added a handful of handsets to is lineup of discounted Prime Exclusive devices. The Prime Exclusive program offers phones at lower prices so long as you subscribe to Amazon Prime (which costs $100 per year) and are willing to view advertisements on the lock screen of your smartphone. The new additions include the Nokia 6, which is discounted to $180; the Alcatel Idol 5S, which is discounted to $200; the Alcatel A50, which is discounted to $100; the Alcatel A30 Plus, which is discounted to $80; and the Motorola Moto E4, which is discounted to $100. All the phones can be preordered starting today. The E4 ships June 30 and the rest ship July 10.


Alcatel's A30 Plus Bumps Up the Screen, Processor, Camera and Battery

Jun 27, 2017, 9:03 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Alcatel today announced the A30 Plus, an improved version of the A30 we saw earlier this year. This entry-level Android handset includes a 5.5-inch 720p HD screen (up from 5.0 inches) and a 1.5 GHz quad-core MediaTek processor (up from 1.1 GHz) with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage. The phone supports memory cards up to 32 GB. The main camera has a 13-megapixel sensor (up from 8mp) with time-lapse recording while the front camera has a 5-megapixel sensor. Alcatel says the phone's larger 3,000mAh battery (up from 2,460mAh) provides all-day life. The phone runs Android 7 Nougat and is sold with LTE for AT&T and T-Mobile via Bands 2, 4, 5, 7, 12, 13, and 17. Alcatel is selling the phone for $130, but it is also available via Amazon's Prime Exclusive program for $80. The Prime version requires owners to view ads on the lock screen. The Alcatel A30 Plus ships July 10.


Alcatel's Modular A50 Parties with Light Up LED Accessory

Jun 27, 2017, 8:53 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Alcatel today followed through on its promise to bring the A5 LED to the U.S., though it has changed the phone's name to simply the Alcatel A50. The phone, first revealed in February, is compatible with a handful of modular accessories, the most significant of which features an LED-covere panel that can blink a few dozen LEDs with color. The LEDs can be used to serve as notifications for incoming calls, messages, or alarms. The included Color Catching 2.0 app lets owners create unique LED patterns and themes. Last, the LEDs can provide a light show when listening to music. Other modular accessories include a snap-on stereo speaker and a snap-on battery pack. These are sold separately. The A50 has a quad-core MediaTek processor with 2 GB of RAM, 5.2-inch HD screen, 13-megapixel main camera, and a 5-megapixel selfie camera with Face Beauty software. Other specs include Bluetooth, FM, GPS, and WiFi radios, and a 2,800mAh battery. It runs Android 7. LTE support is limited to Bands 2, 4, 5, 7, and 12, which makes it moderately compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile. The phone costs $150, or $190 with the LED rear cover. The phone is being distributed through the Amazon Prime Exclusive program for $100, or $130 with the LED rear cover. The Prime Exclusive program requires owners to view ads on the lock screen. The Alcatel A50 ships July 10.


Alcatel Announces the Idol 5S with Stereo Speakers

Jun 27, 2017, 8:36 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Alcatel today marked the debut of the Idol 5S, the latest in its flagship series. Like its predecessors, the 5S features an aluminum frame, curved glass front and rear surfaces, powerful stereo speakers, and a rear-mounted fingerprint reader. The phone has a 5.2-inch full HD screen and it is powered by the Snapdragon 625 processor with 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage. As for photography, the Idol 5S includes a 12-megapixel main camera with two-tone flash, and f/2.0 aperture. The front camera has an 8-megapixel sensor and f/2.0 aperture. Both cameras can shoot full HD video. The stereo speakers are backed by 3.6W amplifiers and the Idol 5S includes dual microphones to help reduce noise when capturing audio. Other features include Bluetooth, GPS, and WiFi; USB-C and a 3.5mm headphone jack; and a 2,620mAh battery. LTE support for U.S. carriers is very good, as it includes Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 12, 13, 17, 25, 26, 66, and 41. Alcatel said the phone will be compatible with AT&T/Cricket and T-Mobile/MetroPCS at launch, with Sprint and Verizon to follow later this summer through a software update. The Alcatel Idol 5S runs Android 7.1 Nougat and includes the Google Assistant. The device costs $280 when purchased from Alcatel, but can be picked up for $200 through Amazon Prime Exclusives. The Amazon price requires users to view ads on the lock screen. The phone ships July 10.


Cricket Wireless Improves Data Offering

May 11, 2017, 11:23 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cricket Wireless today made its base $40 plan more attractive thanks to more data. Moving forward the plan includes 4 GB of high-speed data, which is up from 3 GB. Customers who sign up for Auto Pay can get the plan for $35 per month. Customers who already subscribe to the $40 plan will be upgraded to the new data limit automatically at the start of their next billing cycle. Cricket is also offering significant discounts on a number of its phones. For example, the Alcatel Streak, ZTE Sonata 3, Samsung Amp 2, and LG Fortune are all free to those who port in their number. These same devices can be purchases at low prices for those upgrading a line. Other deals include the LG Escape 3 for $20, the Samsung Amp Prime for $30, the LG X Power for $50, the LG Stylo 2 for $80, and the Alcatel Idol 4 for $130. Again, these prices are offered to those porting in a number from a competing carrier.


Alcatel A30 Reaches Amazon Prime‚Äč for Just $60

Mar 25, 2017, 9:44 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Mar 25, 2017, 9:56 AM

Amazon recently added the Alcatel A30 to its roster of Prime Exclusives. This entry-level Android handset includes a 5-inch HD screen and a 1.1 GHz Snapdragon 210 processor with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage. The phone supports memory cards up to 32 GB. The main camera has an 8-megapixel sensor with time-lapse recording while the front camera has a 5-megapixel sensor. Alcatel says the phone's 2,460mAh battery provides all-day life. The phone runs Android 7 Nougat and is sold in both CDMA and GSM variants, with LTE for AT&T and T-Mobile. Amazon is selling the phone for $60 with lock screen ads or for $100 without ads. It goes on sale April 19.


Cricket Drops Price of Unlimited Plan, Says HD Voice On the Way

Mar 1, 2017, 10:36 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cricket Wireless today lowered the price of its unlimited service plan to $60 per month for a single line. The plan offers unlimited talk, text, and data (speeds capped at 8Mbps), with taxes and fees included. Families can save on additional lines; a second line costs $50 per month, a third line costs $40, a fourth line costs $30, and a fifth line costs $20. Together, families can get four lines of unlimited service for $180 or five lines for $200. The company is offering a choice of several free handsets to those who switch to Cricket, including the Samsung Galaxy Amp 2, the LG Spree, the ZTE Sonata, or the Alcatel Streak. Last, Cricket plans to improve its service in the months ahead with new features, including HD Voice and WiFi calling.


Hands On with the Alcatel A5

Feb 27, 2017, 2:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Here's a neat one. Alcatel showed off the A5 LED this week, an entry-level smartphone that packs some visual pow thanks to light-up LEDs that cover the back surface. The phone by itself may not be all that impressive, but the light show is a riot. Here are our first impressions of the Alcatel A5.

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Alcatel A5 with LED to Make Its Way Stateside

Feb 27, 2017, 2:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The Alcatel A5 LED smartphone is serious about having fun. The phone features an LED-covered rear panel that can blink a few dozen LEDs with color. The LEDs can be used to serve as notifications for incoming calls, messages, or alarms. The included Color Catching 2.0 app lets owners create unique LED patterns and themes. Last, the LEDs can provide a light show when listening to music. The A5 has an octa-core processor, 5.2-inch HD screen, 8-megapixel main camera, and a 5-megapixel selfie camera with Face Beauty software for that perfect look. Alcatel didn't announce pricing, but the phone is meant for younger people. Availability isn't yet known, though Alcatel did say this phone would reach the U.S. at some point.

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Alcatel's A3 and U5 Serve As Entry-Level Phones

Feb 27, 2017, 2:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Alcatel today announced the A3 and the U5, new additions to the bottom of its lineup of inexpensive Android smartphones. The devices are made mostly of plastic and share similar designs.

  • A3: The A3 is the more capable of these two devices with a 5-inch HD display, 4G LTE, 13-megapixel rear camera with LED flash, 5-megapixel front camera, fingerprint sensor, quad-core CPU, and metal frame.
  • U5: This phone includes a 5-inch screen, LTE 4G, front and rear cameras, and Simple Mode for novice users. The plastic rear shell comes in a variety of colors for personalization.
Alcatel didn't share pricing nor release dates for these phones, but neither is slated to come to the U.S.


BlackBerry Signs Licensing Deal with India's Optiemus

Feb 6, 2017, 8:17 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

BlackBerry today said it has licensed its smartphone brand to Optiemus, a smartphone maker based in India. The deal represents the third such agreement forged by BlackBerry with other hardware manufacturers. The most notable licensing deal is with TCL, the parent company of Alcatel, though BlackBerry has a similar deal in place with a joint venture in Indonesia called PT BB Merah Putih. Like the first two agreements, this third licensing deal means Optiemus will design, build, and sell Android-based, BlackBerry-branded handsets in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh. BlackBerry says the deal conforms with India's "Make In India" program, which requires the creation of local jobs and facilities. Optiemus did not immediately announce any new smartphones under the BlackBerry brand. The move is strategically important for BlackBerry because it now has distribution channels into the world's three largest smartphone markets: China, India, and the U.S. TCL, which distributes BlackBerry devices to North America, is expected to fully reveal the BlackBerry Mercury smartphone later this month at the Mobile World Congress trade show.


T-Mobile's 'Taxes Included' One Plan Now In Effect

Jan 23, 2017, 9:17 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile said its T-Mobile One plan now includes all monthly taxes, surcharges, and fees. The company still charges those fees, but they are rolled into the advertised price of the plan in order to simplify what customers see on their bills each month. For example, a family of four that signs up today will pay $40 per line, or $160 total, with no additional fees visible on their monthly bill. Those fees are now included in the total price. The news was first announced earlier this month at the Consumer Electronics Trade Show. T-Mobile has been promoting it heavily via television commercials the last few weeks. In other T-Mobile news, the company's prepaid brand, MetroPCS, announced a free phone promotion. Starting today, customers who upgrade their phone, add a line, or get a new phone number can snag one of 15 different phones for free. Some of the options include the LG Aristo, Samsung Galaxy On5, ZTE Avid Trio, and Alcatel Fierce XL. Customers who port a number to MetroPCS will be able to pick a more expensive free handset, such as the HTC Desire 530, ZTE ZMax Pro, or LG K10. Last, MetroPCS is offering free data to those who sign up for its $50 plan. Typically, the $50 plan includes 5 GB of data. For a limited time, people who choose that plan will have access to 8 GB of data each month for at least a year. Additional 8 GB lines added to the same account will cost $30 per month.


Alcatel Idol 4S with Windows Now Available Unlocked

Jan 17, 2017, 8:59 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Alcatel today made its Idol 4S with Windows 10 smartphone available unlocked from the Microsoft Store. The Windows Idol 4S has a 5.5-inch full HD display, Snapdragon 820 processor, 21-megapixel camera, and USB Type-C. Other features include a wide-angle 8-megapixel selfie camera, 3,000mAh battery, 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB of storage, stereo speakers, and a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor. The Idol 4S with Windows is compatible with Continuum, which enables it to act like a full PC with the proper accessories. The phone is compatible with the networks run by AT&T and T-Mobile. The Idol 4S with Windows 10 costs $470.


Alcatel Debuts the A3 XL with 6-Inch Screen

Jan 5, 2017, 12:30 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Alcatel today announced the A3 XL, the first in a new line of "premium affordable" mobile phones from the budget phone maker. The most distinctive characteristic of the A3 XL is the 6-inch 720p HD display. Alcatel is also calling out the phone's fingerprint sensor for biometric security. The phone is powered by a MediaTek MT8735B 1.1 GHz quad-core processor with 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of storage. It supports memory cards up to 32 GB. The A3 includes an 8-megapixel main camera with flash and HDR, and a 5-megapixel front camera. It has a 3,000mAh battery and runs Android 7 Nougat. LTE support is limited to bands 1, 3, 7, 8, 20, and 28b, meaning it isn't compatible with the 4G networks run by AT&T and T-Mobile. Alcatel says the phone will be sold overseas, though it plans to expand the A series over time.

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TCL Teases Its Next BlackBerry Phone

Jan 4, 2017, 11:15 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jan 4, 2017, 11:24 AM

TCL today offered a sneak peak of a new BlackBerry smartphone in a short video. TCL is the parent company behind Alcatel and recently struck an agreement to design and manufacture smartphone hardware for BlackBerry. Though TCL builds the devices, BlackBerry is providing its secure, Android-based platform. The agreement between the two companies builds on work the to did together last year. For example, TCL repurposed the Alcatel Idol 4 into the BlackBerry DTEK50. This new phone, which has no name, nor any stated specs, it a slab-style device with both a touch screen and physical QWERTY keyboard. TCL didn't share any real details about the phone, but it has an aluminum chassis, dual cameras, a fingerprint reader, USB-C, and a non-removable battery. TCL said it will fully announce the device at Mobile World Congress in February.

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TCL Outlines Alcatel and BlackBerry Handset Strategy

Jan 4, 2017, 11:15 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

TCL, the parent corporation of Alcatel, unveiled its new handset strategy moving forward. The company will continue to build its Alcatel-branded smartphones that target the low/value end of the market. These devices will run Android and will generally be sold via carriers and the open market. The company will also work closely with BlackBerry to design BlackBerry-branded handsets for North America and other markets. TCL will make the hardware, but it will rely on BlackBerry's hardened version of Android with government-grade security and business software on board. TCL sees its new partnership with BlackBerry as a way to get its phones into the high-end and enterprise segments of the market. BlackBerry and TCL hope to regain the trust of corporations that have in recent years turned to Apple and Samsung for employee devices. TCL plans to work with BlackBerry's sales team to sell BlackBerry-branded handsets directly to businesses, but it also intends to forge new carrier deals to reach consumers via carrier stores over time. TCL's Steve Cistulli says the BlackBerry DTEK50 and DTEK60, which are rebranded variants of the Alcatel Idol 4 and 4S, are performing well and have helped level off the decline of BlackBerry sales in North America. TCL believes it can reverse that decline over time with a range of unique BlackBerry handsets. The company also revealed its first entirely new BlackBerry smartphone that is scheduled to debut later this year. The phone is a slab with a physical QWERTY keyboard and touch screen. TCL did not announce the phone's name, nor its specs. BlackBerry said it will continue to support BBOS 10, and pointed out that it recently released BBOS 10.3.3 for older phones such as the BlackBerry Classic.


TCL to Be Sole Maker of BlackBerry Phones

Dec 15, 2016, 12:37 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

BlackBerry today said moving forward TCL Communications, the parent company of Alcatel, will be responsible for designing, manufacturing, selling, and supporting all BlackBerry-branded smartphones. The companies struck an agreement that sees TCL licensing BlackBerry's security software and service suite along with the BlackBerry brand. TCL has already made two BlackBerry smartphones, the DTEK50 and DTEK60, which are variants of the Alcatel Idol 4 and Idol 4S, respectively. BlackBerry said it will continue to control and develop its security and software solutions, as well as serve enterprise customers' needs. BlackBerry called the agreement "a key step in our strategy to focus on putting the 'smart in the phone' by providing state-of-the-art security and device software on a platform that mobile users prefer and are comfortable with. We are confident that BlackBerry-branded products developed and distributed by TCL Communication will address the needs of BlackBerry users and expand the availability of BlackBerry Secure products throughout the world." BlackBerry has been winding down its own hardware business for some time and in September announced plans to halt making smartphones altogether. At the time, BlackBerry had not yet named a manufacturing partner.


Alcatel Makes the Idol 4S with Windows Official

Nov 1, 2016, 8:28 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Alcatel today announced a new variant of the Idol 4S with Windows 10 Mobile on board. This handset carries over the chassis of the Android-based model, but changes a number of key specifications. For example, the Windows Idol 4S has a 5.5-inch full HD display and Snapdragon 820 processor, which differ from the quad HD display and Snapdragon 652 processor of the original. Further, the Windows version improves the camera to 21 megapixels and swaps microUSB for USB Type-C. Most other specs are the same. The Idol 4S with Windows 10 has a wide-angle 8-megapixel selfie camera, 3,000mAh battery, 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB of storage, stereo speakers, and a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor. The Idol 4S with Windows is compatible with Continuum, which enables it to act like a full PC with the proper accessories. It will be packaged with a set of virtual reality goggles for a limited time. The Idol 4S with Windows 10 hits T-Mobile stores November 10 for $470.


T-Mobile Outs Windows 10 VR Phone From Alcatel

Oct 26, 2016, 9:39 AM   by Rich Brome

T-Mobile today listed the "Alcatel IDOL 4S with Windows 10 VR" on its web site. The unique version of the Idol 4S not only runs Windows 10, but sports many of the upgrades available in the related BlackBerry DTEK60, such as the high-end Snapdragon 820 processor, 21-megapixel camera, and USB Type-C connector, none of which are in the standard Idol 4S. The Idol 4S with Windows 10 also includes free VR goggles (for a limited time) for use with "pre-loaded games and videos". Curiously, while the standard Idol 4S includes a Quad-HD display ideal for VR, this version steps down to a full-HD display, according to T-Mobile's specs. The Idol 4S with Windows 10 also supports Windows Continuum, which lets you connect a screen and keyboard to turn the phone into a full Windows 10 computer. Other features of the phone include a memory card slot, stereo speakers, 8-megapixel front camera, and 4 GB of RAM. T-Mobile's specs do not mention NFC. Pricing and release date have yet to be announced. Microsoft is


BlackBerry DTEK60 Boasts Fingerprint Sensor and Top Specs

Oct 25, 2016, 8:21 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Oct 25, 2016, 8:23 AM

BlackBerry today announced the DTEK60, the company's new flagship non-keyboard phone. The DTEK60 is based on the Alcatel Idol 4S and looks similar, but actually has significantly upgraded specs in nearly every respect. (The DTEK50 is essentially a rebranded Alcatel Idol 4.) The DTEK60 sports a fingerprint sensor, Quad-HD 5.5-inch display, 3,000 mAh battery, NFC, and a memory card slot. Unlike the Idol 4S, it also packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, 4 GB of RAM, 21 megapixel camera, and a USB Type-C connector with Quick Charge 3.0. The DTEK60 maintains the same 7mm thin profile as the Idol 4S, although with a larger camera bump for the upgraded sensor. As with all of BlackBerry's new phones, the DTEK60 runs Android with BlackBerry messaging and security software added. The phone supports LTE networks including those of T-Mobile and AT&T (including band 29.) The DTEK60 is available today directly from BlackBerry for $500 unlocked. Customers who order within the next two weeks will receive a free "soft shell" case and rapid charger.


Alcatel's Pop 4 and Pixi 4 Series Reach Amazon and Best Buy

Oct 20, 2016, 6:21 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Alcatel today said Amazon.com and Best Buy have agreed to sell four of its low-cost Android smartphones from the Pop and Pixi families. The Pop 4S costs $170, the Pop 4 Plus costs $120, the Pixi 4 (6-inch) costs $120, and the Pixi 4 (5-inch) costs $80. All four handsets are being sold unlocked with support for GSM/LTE networks such as those operated by AT&T and T-Mobile. The phones were announced earlier this year.


Alcatel Linkzone Mobile Hotspot Now Available from T-Mobile

Oct 12, 2016, 9:07 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Alcatel today announced the Linkzone, a mobile hotspot for T-Mobile. The Linkzone connects to T-Mobile's LTE 4G network and can provide WiFi-based access to up to 15 other mobile devices, such as laptops and tablets. Alcatel says the Linkzone can reach download speeds as fast as 150Mbps under optimal network conditions. The hotspot has a web-based user interface for managing settings, security, and passwords, as well as an illuminated status panel on the device. The internal battery provides up to six hours of use, and it also supports microSD cards up to 32 GB and tethering via USB cable. The Alcatel Linkzone is available at T-Mobile stores nationwide for $80.


BlackBerry to Kill Off Smartphone-Making Business

Sep 28, 2016, 7:11 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

BlackBerry today said it will no longer make and sell its own smartphones. Instead, it will rely on original device manufacturers to design and make devices that will carry BlackBerry branding and software. The company employed this strategy earlier this year with the DTEK50, which was a rebranded Alcatel Idol 4. BlackBerry uses Google's Android platform as a base and hardens it with respect to bugs and security. It then packages this with its BlackBerry Suite of apps and services. "We are reaching an inflection point with our strategy," said CEO John Chen. "Our financial foundation is strong, and our pivot to software is taking hold. Under this strategy, we are focusing on software development, including security and applications. The company plans to end all internal hardware development and will outsource that function to partners." BlackBerry calls this its Mobility Solutions strategy. The company has already forged a licensing agreement with a telecom joint venture in Indonesia. BlackBerry announced the news along with its fiscal 2017 second quarter earnings report. The company generated $352 million in revenue, of which $156 million came from its software business.


Cricket Drops Entry-Level Plan to $30 Per Month

Sep 8, 2016, 7:33 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cricket Wireless today dropped the price of its least-expensive plan to $30 per month. The plan includes unlimited talk and text and 1 GB of high-speed (8Mbps) data. Users who exceed 1 GB of data per month will be throttled to 2G speeds (128Kbps) for the remainder of the billing cycle. The new plan will be available September 9. Also kicking off September 9 are several promotions from Cricket. For example, customers who activate new lines of service will be eligible for a free Alcatel Streak, ZTE Sonata 3, or Kyocera Hydro View. Further, customers who port their number to Cricket from another carrier can purchase the Alcatel Idol 4 with VR Goggles for $99.


Alcatel Reveals the Fierce 4 for MetroPCS

Aug 29, 2016, 8:23 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Alcatel today announced the Fierce 4, a large, budget-conscious Android smartphone that will be sold by MetroPCS. The Fierce 4 features a 5.5-inch 720p HD screen and is powered by a quad-core, 1.1 GHz Snapdragon 210 processor with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage. The phone has an 8-megapixel main camera with autofocus and a 5-megapixel front camera with an extra-wide 84-degree field of view for more inclusive selfies. The phone supports memory cards up to 128 GB; runs on Metro's LTE 4G network; includes a 2,500mAh battery; and runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The Alcatel Fierce 4 will be available nationwide at MetroPCS stores beginning today for $69. Alcatel says the Fierce 4 will reach T-Mobile later this fall.


AT&T and Cricket Launch the Alcatel Ideal

Aug 17, 2016, 12:08 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T and Cricket Wireless today announced a low-cost Android handset from Alcatel. The device is the same hardware as the Alcatel Dawn sold by Boost and Virgin, but has been rebadged as the Ideal by AT&T and Streak by Cricket. The phone features a 4.5-inch screen with 854 by 480 resolution, 1.1 GHz quad-core processor, and 1 GB of RAM. The Ideal/Streak includes a 5-megapixel main camera, VGA front camera, 8 GB of storage, 1,780mAh battery, support for LTE, and a memory card slot for microSD cards up to 32 GB. The AT&T Ideal runs Android 5.1 Lollipop, but the Cricket Streak runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Cricket is selling the Streak for $30.

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Alcatel Debuts the Tru for MetroPCS

Aug 15, 2016, 11:06 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Aug 15, 2016, 11:11 AM

Alcatel today announced the Tru, an inexpensive Android smartphone for MetroPCS. The phone features a faux leather rear, a 5-inch FWVGA display, and quad-core 1.1 GHz Snapdragon processor with 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of storage. The Tru offers a 5-megapixel main camera with Polaroid software and 2-megapixel selfie camera. It includes expandable storage up to 32 GB, a 2,000mAh battery, and support for LTE (Bands 2, 4, and 12.) The Alcatel Tru runs Android 5.0 Lollipop and costs $29 after rebates. The phone is available beginning today.


Idol 4 Now On Sale at Cricket Wireless

Aug 5, 2016, 11:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cricket Wireless today said the Alcatel Idol 4 is now available for sale from its web site. The Idol 4 is the smaller brother of the Idol 4S. The Idol 4 has the same basic appearance as the Idol 4S, with a metal frame and glass back, and features such as JBL stereo speakers and a reversible user interface. The Idol 4 has a 5.2-inch full-HD LCD display, Snapdragon 617 processor with 3 GB of RAM, and 16 GB of storage. It has a 13-megapixel camera main camera, 8-megapixel front camera, NFC, Cat 6 LTE, memory card slot, Android 6.0, and fast charging. Cricket is charging $199 when the Idol 4 is activated on a service plan. The package includes Alcatel's virtual reality goggles. Alcatel is selling the larger Idol 4S directly to consumers through its web site for $349.


Hands-On with the BlackBerry DTEK50

Jul 27, 2016, 2:11 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

BlackBerry's DTEK50 may be a rebadge of the Alcatel Idol 4, but it still manages to look and feel like a BlackBerry. This slim slab should appeal most to those who need enterprise-class security for their business smartphone. Here are Phonescoop's first impressions of the DTEK50.

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BlackBerry DTEK50 Is A Secured, Rebadged Alcatel Idol 4

Jul 26, 2016, 10:17 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jul 26, 2016, 10:22 AM

BlackBerry today announced the DTEK50 smartphone, a slab-style handset that runs Android and features BlackBerry's signature communications and security software. BlackBerry says the DTEK50 features FIPS-2 hardware encryption, rapid security patching, secure boot process, and a hardened Android OS core. It includes Android for Work and Google Play for Work, as well as support for BlackBerry's full enterprise mobility management suite. Other features include BBM, BlackBerry Hub, the BlackBerry intelligent keyboard, and a customizable action key. The hardware is a rebadged version of the Alcatel Idol 4, which was announced earlier this year. The DTEK50 has a 5.2-inch full-HD LCD display, Snapdragon 617 processor with 3 GB of RAM, and 16 GB of storage. It has a 13-megapixel camera main camera, 8-megapixel front camera, NFC, Cat 6 LTE, memory card slot, and Quick Charge 2.0. The phone ships with Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The DTEK50 is available for preorder in the U.S. and other countries starting today for $299. BlackBerry said it will reveal shipping dates on a regional basis over the coming weeks.


Consumer Cellular Adds Alcatel Pop 3 and Others to Lineup

Jul 21, 2016, 11:03 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Consumer Cellular recently added four phones to its roster of inexpensive devices, including the Alcatel Pop 3. The Pop 3 (pictured) has a 5.5-inch 720p HD screen, 1.1 GHz quad-core processor with 8 GB of storage, 5-megapixel camera, and FM radio. The phone runs Android 5.1 Lollipop and costs $100. Consumer Cellular also added the Samsung Galaxy J3 for $125, the ZTE Avid 828 (Avid Plus) for $70, and the Consumer Cellular 101 flip phone for $30.


Cricket to Carry Alcatel Idol 4 with Virtual Reality Goggles

Jul 19, 2016, 7:48 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jul 19, 2016, 10:10 AM

Cricket Wireless today announced plans to sell the Alcatel Idol 4 beginning next month. The Idol 4 is the smaller brother of the Idol 4S. The Idol 4 has the same basic appearance as the Idol 4S, with a metal frame and glass back, and features such as JBL stereo speakers and a reversible user interface. The Idol 4 has a 5.2-inch full-HD LCD display, Snapdragon 617 processor with 3 GB of RAM, and 16 GB of storage. It has a 13-megapixel camera main camera, 8-megapixel front camera, NFC, Cat 6 LTE, memory card slot, Android 6.0, and fast charging. Cricket says the Idol 4 will reach its stores on August 4 for $199 when activated on a service plan. The package includes Alcatel's virtual reality goggles. Alcatel is selling the larger Idol 4S directly to consumers through its web site for $349.


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