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Sprint Adds Avatars to Visual Voicemail

Aug 28, 2014, 9:43 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint today announced a new service that will allow customers to add animations and avatars to their voicemail messages. The service is available to Sprint, Boost Mobile, and Virgin Mobile USA customers with select Android handsets. The base service includes 12 free avatars and 12 free backgrounds that can be paired together in any combination along with voice effects in order to create unique animations. The avatars are lip-synced with the caller's voicemail (up to 20 seconds for free, up to two minutes with premium subscription). According to Sprint, the content library will be updated often, with new free and paid avatars and backgrounds appearing each week. Sprint customers can use their own voice, or an optional voice effect with variable pitch to make the message more fun. The avatar messages can be shared via voicemail, email, SMS, and even posted to Facebook. Further, messages can be sent to any user on any network, and can also be viewed on the web from desktops or tablets. Devices compatible with the service will receive an update to the visual voicemail application beginning this month. The initial list of compatible devices includes the Samsung Galaxy S3, S4, and S5, and Note 2; the HTC EVO 4G LTE and HTC One. Sprint said more devices will be made compatible with the service over time.

T-Mobile to Sell Alcatel OneTouch Fierce 2 and Evolve 2

Aug 27, 2014, 8:35 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Aug 27, 2014, 9:10 AM

T-Mobile and Alcatel today announced the addition of the Fierce 2 and Evolve 2 to T-Mobile's value handset roster. Both devices run Android 4.4 KitKat. Shared hardware features include 5-megapixel main cameras, VGA user-facing cameras, 4GB of built-in storage, support for microSD cards up to 32GB, and Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

  • Fierce 2: The Fierce 2 (pictured) is the larger of the two phones, boasting a 5-inch qHD display. It is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon processor and includes 1GB of RAM. The camera includes HDR, panorama, and burst modes. The Fierce 2 has a 2,000mAh battery.
  • Evolve 2: This compact phone has a 4-inch WVGA display and it is powered by a 1.3GHz dual-core processor with 512MB of RAM. It has a 1,4000mAh battery. Alcatel is pitching the Fierce 2 as an entry-level smartphone.
T-Mobile's web site lists the phones as "coming soon." Pricing was not provided.

GIV Mobile Offering Free Phone to Customers

Jun 26, 2014, 12:17 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

GIV Mobile today said it is offering potential customers a free Android smartphone when they prepay for two months of service. GIV is an MVNO that operates on T-Mobile's network. Its plans cost $40 and $50, and include unlimited talk and text and up to either 250MB or 2.5GB of 3G/4G data per month, respectively. GIV is giving away the Alcatel OneTouch for free, but also sells older flagships such as the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the LG G2 at reduced prices. GIV is unique in that it earmarks 8% of customers' bills for donation to various charities. Customers are able to select up to three charities to which their donations can be sent. GIV launched in May 2013.

Europe and Korea Look to Define 5G

Jun 16, 2014, 7:32 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jun 16, 2014, 8:00 AM

The European Commission and South Korea today announced plans to together define the future 5G wireless standard, as well as develop the technologies to support it. The two bodies signed a Joint Declaration on Strategic Cooperation in Information Communications Technology (ICT) and 5G to increase the discussions and research around the topic. A wide number of companies will participate, including Alcatel-Lucent, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, Nokia, Orange, Telecom Italia, Telenor, and Telefonica from Europe, as well as Samsung, LG, SK Telecom, and others in Korea. One of the key ideas behind 5G is not to just increase speeds, but to significantly boost capacity. Capacity improvements will help the 5G networks of the future handle all the potential devices connecting to them, such as phones, tablets, wearables, vehicles, and the broader Internet of Things. The collaboration has three main goals: First, to develop a broad definition of the key functionalities of 5G and create a time table for its creation by the end of 2015; Second, to kick off joint research in the pursuit of 5G by 2016 in coordination with 3GPP and ITU: and Third, to agree on global radio frequency bands for 5G in order to promote interoperability and roaming between carriers and countries. "5G will become the new lifeblood of the digital economy and digital society once it is established. Both Europe and Korea recognize this," said Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission for the Digital Agenda. "This is the first time ever that public authorities have joined together in this way, with the support of private industry, to push forward the process of standardization. Today's declaration signals the our commitment to being global digital leaders." LTE, which is what most 4G networks use, has some room for growth in terms of speeds, but capacity is limited and the potential for global roaming is limited due to the wide number of spectrum bands used by carriers around the world. It is these and other issues that the EU and S. Korea hope to resolve in their pursuit of 5G.

FCC Outs Alcatel OneTouch Evolve 2 for T-Mobile

Jun 11, 2014, 9:31 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Documents seen on the Federal Communications Commission web site reveal details about an unannounced handset from Alcatel. The Alcatel OneTouch Evolve 2 is an Android smartphone with support for T-Mobile's network, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth, according to the FCC. Images posted to the FCC's web site show a slab-style device with a touch screen, capacitive buttons, a main camera, a user-facing camera, and speakerphone. The draft user manual, which doesn't confirm final features, suggests the device supports microSD cards and lists a number of T-Mobile-branded services, such as Wi-Fi calling. Neither Alcatel nor T-Mobile have announced the OneTouch Evolve 2. Pricing and availability details are unknown.

Hands On with Alcatel's Pop S Phones

Feb 27, 2014, 12:59 PM   by Rich Brome

Alcatel this week announced a new range of phones in its Pop series of affordable, colorful Android phones. The new Pop S range has LTE 4G, unlike previous Pop phones. The range includes a small phone, a 5-incher, and a full-on phablet. We checked them out. Read on for our impressions.

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Hands On with Alcatel's Idol 2 S & Idol 2 mini S

Feb 23, 2014, 4:14 PM   by Rich Brome

Alcatel's new Idol phones are slim and light, something the company is known for, but now have LTE. We check out these nice-looking, affordable Android phones.

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Alcatel Updates Idol Lineup

Feb 23, 2014, 2:14 PM   by Rich Brome

Alcatel today announced the Idol 2 S and Idol 2 Mini S, two thin and light Android phones. Both phones include 4G LTE, an 8-megapixel main camera, front camera, quad-core 1.2 GHz processor, NFC, and Android 4.3, ugrade-able to 4.4. The Idol 2 S sports a 5-inch 720p display and is 7.4 mm thick, while the Idol 2 Mini S has a 4.5-inch qHD display and is 8.5 mm thick. They both launch globally in the 2nd quarter of this year.

Mozilla Sets Up Firefox OS for Growth

Feb 23, 2014, 11:36 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Mozilla today made a handful of announcements about the progress of Firefox OS, which is garnering more support from phone makers and carriers around the world. To start, the Firefox OS family has grown with the ZTE Open C and Open II, and Alcatel OneTouch Fire C (pictured), Fire E, Fire S handsets all making their debut in Barcelona. The devices are all running the latest version of Firefox, which has been sped up and performs better across the board thanks to new support from Qualcomm Snapdragon processors. Notably, these devices offer a mid-range experience, unlike the first device, which was marketed as an entry-level handset. In addition to the hardware partners, Mozilla has won agreements from Telkomsel and Indosat, which join the list of 21 operators supporting Firefox OS around the world. Mozilla also said it worked with Spreadtrum to create a WCDMA and EDGE turnkey reference design for Firefox OS, and a $25 chipset for low-cost Firefox OS smartphones. Last, Firefox outlined changes headed to the operating system. It will add a new universal search function available from any screen on the phone. New navigation features in the user interface will make multitasking easier, such as swiping between full-screen apps. The OS will also make it easier to share content thanks to support for NFC, as well as LTE for markets with 4G deployments. Mozilla also talked up new support it has from developers, who've begun to write more apps for the operating system.

Alcatel Reveals the OneTouch Idol X+

Jan 6, 2014, 8:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jan 6, 2014, 11:53 AM

Alcatel today revealed the OneTouch Idol X+, a new hero smartphone that will compete with today's top flagship devices. It features a brushed aluminum frame and measures 7.9mm thick. The Idol X+ boasts a 5-inch 1080p HD Black Crystal display with Dragontrail Glass and slim bezels. It is powered by a 2.0-GHz octa-core processor with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. It offers a 13-megapixel main camera with autofocus, flash, panorama, and 1080p HD video capture. The user-facing camera rates 2-megapixels. Connectivity options include GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, dual-band Wi-Fi, and HSPA+. It runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and comes with a 2,500mAh battery. Pricing and availability were not shared.

Alcatel Shows Off the Colorful Pop C9

Jan 6, 2014, 8:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Alcatel today unveiled the Pop C9, an Android smartphone that comes in various different colors to suit consumers' varying tastes. The C9 offers a large, 5.5-inch qHD display and it is powered by a 1.3-GHz quad-core processor with 1GB of RAM and 4GB of built-in storage. It includes an 8-megapixel main camera with LED flash and 1080p HD video capture, and a 2-megapixel user-facing camera. Connectivity options include Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, Wi-Fi, and HSPA. The C9 fills in the top spot among the C series phones from Alcatel. Pricing and availability details were not shared.

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T-Mobile Pushes Alcatel Phones to MetroPCS

Nov 25, 2013, 9:46 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today announced that the Alcatel OneTouch Evolve and OneTouch Fierce will also be available under the MetroPCS brand. Both phones are already available for sale at T-Mobile stores. MetroPCS is selling the Evolve for $59.99 and the Fierce for $99.99. Both can be paired with no-contract monthly plans that start at $40.

Alcatel to Slice 10,000 Employees

Oct 8, 2013, 7:02 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Alcatel today announced that it plans to reduce its headcount by about 10,000 employees in a global restructuring of its business. The company will cut 4,100 employees across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, 3,800 in Asia Pacific, and 2,100 in North and South America. Alcatel hopes the to complete the cuts by 2015 and eventually realize cost savings of $1.36 billion. Alcatel's ranks number about 72,000 today. The company, which makes telecommunications equipment, has posted five straight quarters of losses as it struggles to compete with Ericsson, Huawei, and Nokia.

T-Mobile Intros the Alcatel Fierce and Evolve

Sep 25, 2013, 5:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 25, 2013, 7:15 AM

T-Mobile today announced two new Android smartphones from Alcatel, the OneTouch Fierce and the OneTouch Evolve. Both are slab-style devices that can access T-Mobile's HSPA+ network, but not its LTE network. Shared features include 5-megapixel cameras with 720p HD video capture; Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, and FM radios; and support for microSD cards up to 32GB.

  • Fierce: The Fierce (pictured) runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and features a 4.5-inch qHD display, quad-core 1.2GHz processor, and an 1800mAh battery. The Fierce will be available in select stores beginning October 5, and all T-Mobile sales channels on October 23. It costs $169.99 unsubsidized. With T-Mobile's Simple Choice plan, it can be purchased for a down payment of $19.99 and 24 payments of $6.50.
  • Evolve: The Evolve (gallery) runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and has a 4.0-inch WVGA display, 1GHz processor, and 1,400mAh battery. The OneTouch Evolve will be available in select stores beginning October 5 and all T-Mobile sales channels by October 16. The Evolve costs $99.99.

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Hands-On: Alcatel Hero, OneTouch Alpha, and Idol Mini

Sep 6, 2013, 10:29 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 6, 2013, 1:12 PM

Alcatel introduced two very interesting smartphones at IFA this week. The Hero makes use of a novel e-ink cover, while the Alpha has translucent body panels that light up, and the mini is a cute, little smartphone.

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Idol X from Alcatel Is Less Than 7mm Thick

Sep 5, 2013, 3:19 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Alcatel showed off the Idol X this week in Berlin, an Android smartphone that measures just 6.9mm thick. The X may be thin, but it still features a 5-inch full HD display with Dragontail glass and a 1.5GHz quad-core processor with 2GB of RAM. The X also includes a 13-megapixel main camera and 2-megapixel user-facing camera that can each shoot 1080p HD video. Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth 4.0LE, FM radio, DLNA, and HD Voice. The Idol X supports UMTS 900/2100 and is unlikely to be sold in the U.S.

Alcatel Updates Idol Series with the Alpha

Sep 5, 2013, 3:03 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Alcatel revealed the Idol Alpha at the IFA trade show this week, a new Android smartphone that has unique, translucent edges that will light up and flash when there are incoming alerts or notifications. The edge lights also indicate when the device is charging or being used in several other modes. The Idol Alpha includes a 4.7-inch 720p HD display with Dragontail glass, a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, and a 13-megapixel main camera. It has a 1.3-megapixel user-facing camera and both image sensors can record HD video. The Alpha also includes Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth 4.0LE, FM radio, support for HD Voice, 16GB of storage, and a 2,000mAh battery. Alcatel did not announce plans to sell the device in the U.S.

Alcatel Reveals OneTouch Hero with 6-Inch Screen

Sep 5, 2013, 2:46 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Alcatel recently announced the OneTouch Hero, the company's flagship smartphone for the rest of the year. The Hero, which runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, boasts a 6-inch full HD display and a 13-megapixel camera. The device is powered by a 1.5GHz quad-core processor with 2GB of RAM and a 3,400mAh battery. It also includes a 2-megapixel user-facing camera, Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth 4.0LE, and either 8 or 16GB of storage. In addition to the device, Alcatel revealed several novel accessories for the OneTouch Hero, including an e-ink cover and an LED cover. The e-ink cover adds a second display that can be used instead of the phone itself for reading and saving battery life. The MagicFlip LED cover has lights embedded in the surface that act as notifications for incoming messages, calls, as well as status updates. The Alcatel OneTouch Hero is sold with a stylus and supports wireless charging. Alcatel did not say if the OneTouch Hero will be sold in the U.S.

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Alcatel "Viper" Approved For AT&T

Sep 3, 2013, 10:44 AM   by Rich Brome

The FCC has approved an Alcatel phone supporting AT&T's unique combination of frequency bands for LTE and WCDMA. The One Touch 7030Y, or Viper (possibly a code name,) is a mid-range Android phone with a 4.6-inch display, 5-megapixel camera, Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, memory card slot, and removable battery, according to documents submitted to the FCC. Neither Alcatel nor AT&T has announced any such phone.

Alcatel Spills Details On the Idol S and Idol Mini

Aug 31, 2013, 12:42 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Alcatel recently published details on its global web site about two previously unannounced Android smartphones, the Idol S (pictured) and the Idol Mini. Both devices run Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and share features such as Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy, Wi-Fi, GPS, and support for worldwide GSM/HSPA+ networks. The each also have an FM radio and support microSD cards up to 32GB.

  • Idol S: The S is the larger and more high-end of the two smartphones and measures just 7.4mm thick. It features a 4.7-inch 1280 x 720 HD in-plane switching LCD screen that is protected by Dragontrail Glass and an oleophobic coating. It includes an 8-megapixel camera that can shoot 1080p HD video and offers modes such as HDR and panorama. It also has a 1.3-megapixel user-facing camera. The Idol S has a 1.2GHz dual-core processor with 1GB of RAM and 4GB of built-in storage. It will be offered in slate, red, and pink.
  • Idol Mini: This slightly smaller handset has a 4.3-inch screen with 854 x 480 pixels. The Idol Mini has a 5-megapixel main camera with panorama mode and 720p HD video capture, in addition to a VGA user-facing camera. The Idol Mini has a 1.3GHz dual-core processor with 512MB of RAM and either 4GB or 8GB of internal storage. It will be offered in black, brushed metallic, silver, and pink.
Pricing and availability of the Alcaltel Idol S and Idol Mini has not been announced.

FCC Exposes the Alcatel One Touch Fierce for T-Mobile

Aug 28, 2013, 10:41 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Documents seen on the FCC web site reveal details about an unannounced handset from Alcatel. The One Touch Fierce, as it is referred to, supports spectrum bands that earmark it for T-Mobile, and it also includes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS. Based on images published by the FCC, the Fierce is a slab-style touch phone that has a camera, support for memory cards, and standard USB and headphone ports. The draft user manual refers to Google's Android operating system and T-Mobile-specific functions, such as Wi-Fi calling. Neither Alcatel nor T-Mobile has provided further details about this device.

Alcatel 768 Hits T-Mobile and MetroPCS

Jul 31, 2013, 8:40 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Both T-Mobile and MetoPCS have recently added the Alcatel 768 to their respective rosters. The 768 is an entry-level flip phone that runs on T-Mobile's GSM network. The 768 has a 2.4-inch main display with 240 by 320 pixels and a secondary display on the front that displays the time and other status indicators. The 768 features a 2-megapixel camera, FM radio, Bluetooth, GPS, and support for T-Mobile's HSPA+ network. The device does not require a downpayment with T-Mobile's equipment installment plan, but will add $3 per month to the service plan cost. MetroPCS is selling the Alcatel 768 outright for $49.

HTC, Sony, Others Cleared in Wi-Lan Patent Case

Jul 16, 2013, 7:18 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

HTC, Sony, Ericsson, and Alcatel-Lucent did not infringe on four Wi-Lan patents, according to the patent-licensing firm. Wi-Lan sued the four companies for infringing on a handful of its wireless patents, but a Texas jury cleared all four firms in the case. Wi-Lan expressed disappointment in the outcome. Patent-licensing firms often use litigation to generate income. Wi-Lan filed similar litigation against BlackBerry late last year.

Alcatel One Touch Idol Smartphone Available for $299

May 29, 2013, 11:06 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated May 30, 2013, 11:36 AM

Alcatel today announced that its One Touch Idol Android smartphone is available for U.S. consumers to purchase directly for $299. The One Touch Idol was announced earlier this year. It is a light and thin handset that measures 7.9mm thick and includes a dual-core 1.2 GHz processor, 4.7-inch qHD IPS LCD display, and 8-megapixel camera. It also runs Android 4.1. The One Touch Idol is being sold unlocked and unsubsidized. It runs on most GSM networks in the U.S.

Verizon to Deploy Small Cells Later this Year

May 21, 2013, 10:01 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless today announced plans to use small cells to supplement its LTE 4G network in select areas around the country beginning in the second half of the year. Verizon calls the use of small cells a "balanced approach to network capacity." They will be deployed in areas where capacity is constrained due to high concentrations of users, such as shopping malls and business districts. Verizon will use small cell equipment from Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent. Verizon did not specify any exact locations where the cells would be added. According to Verizon, its LTE 4G network already covers 95% of its existing 3G footprint in some 497 markets.

Sprint Puts Vendors at Fault for LTE Network Delays

May 7, 2013, 10:38 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint's Network Vision project has been plagued by problems with its equipment providers, the company said in paperwork recently filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. "During the second half of 2012, we experienced delays with vendor execution, backhaul connectivity delays, shortages in equipment such as fiber cable and antennas, as well as other regulatory and environmental issues," said Sprint. Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, and Samsung are the three companies providing Sprint with its networking gear, each of which is responsible for a select geographical area of the country. "However, we expect that we will recover from these delays and we are still forecasting to have the majority of the sites on-air by the end of 2013 with expected completion of Network Vision deployment by the middle of 2014." Sprint has been slow to deploy its LTE network, which first launched during the second quarter of 2012. It had expected to cover 250 million POPs with LTE by the end of 2013, but has revised that estimate downward to 200 million. It says it is still on track to reach 150 million POPs by the middle of 2013.

Firefox OS Developer Phones Go On Sale

Apr 23, 2013, 8:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Geeksphone today announced the availability of two developer phones running Firefox OS. The Keon and Peak were revealed earlier this year and were initially expected to go on sale in February. Both phones run the newest version of Firefox OS (previously known to as Boot-to-Gecko). Firefox OS is an open mobile platform based on Linux and HTML5. It uses web standards to run apps in lieu of a traditional operating system. Mozilla is giving Firefox OS to carriers and handset makers for free as a low-cost alternative to mainstream smartphone platforms. The Keon is an entry-level developer device with a 3.5-inch HVGA display, 1GHz processor and 3-megapixel camera. The Peak is a mid-range device with a 4.3-inch qHD display, dual-core 1.2GHz processor, and 8-megapixel camera. The Keon costs $119 and the Peak costs $194. Both ZTE and Alcatel have committed to launching Firefox OS devices this year, and Sprint said it would be interested in selling Firefox OS-based devices when they become available.

Hands-On: Alcatel Idol Ultra

Feb 24, 2013, 3:20 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

The Idol Ultra, an Android smartphone, may not be headed to the U.S. any time soon, but it was impressive enough that we though we'd share our first impressions.

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Alcatel, LG, ZTE To Launch Firefox OS Phones

Feb 24, 2013, 11:55 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Feb 24, 2013, 5:27 PM

Mozilla today announced the main launch partners for the first Firefox OS phones. The company also provided some details of the OS' app marketplace. Alcatel (TCL,) LG and ZTE will all make Firefox OS phones, all of which will use Qualcomm Snapdragon processors. The ZTE phone will either be called the Open (according to the press release) or Fire (according to reps at the press conference.) Telefonica will launch phones from all three manufacturers in Brazil, Colombia, Spain and Venezuela in mid-2013. Deutsche Telekom will launch the Alcatel One Touch Fire in Poland this summer, followed by additional countries. Huawei has also committed to make phones for the OS, although no carriers have committed to their efforts yet. Telnor will bring unspecified Firefox OS phones to Serbia, Montenegro and Hungary. America Movil will also bring Firefox OS phones to all of its Latin American markets. No U.S. carriers have committed to Firefox OS, although Mozilla expects the OS to reach U.S. shores in 2014. The Firefox Marketplace will support both downloadable and "one-time use" apps. The OS will also feature universal search, showing unified results from within apps and from the web.

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T-Mobile Launches GoSmart Prepaid Service Nationally

Feb 19, 2013, 4:13 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile USA today officially expanded its GoSmart Mobile prepaid service beyond several trial markets to the entire U.S. The trial kicked off in nine markets in December. Since the trials began, T-Mobile USA has signed up tens of thousands of customers to the service, beating its forecasts. Consumers will be able to find GoSmart Mobile at some 3,000 wireless retail shops begining today. GoSmart Mobile offers SIM cards for $8 that can be activated in any unlocked GSM device. GoSmart also sells the Alcatel OT 838, a QWERTY messaging phone, for $69. Three plans are available, costing $30, $35, or $45 per month. The $35 plan offers 2G data speeds, but the $45 plan offers 3G data speeds.

FCC Reveals Alcatel Sparq II for T-Mobile

Jan 31, 2013, 9:42 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jan 31, 2013, 9:45 AM

Documents seen on the Federal Communications Commission web site today revealed details about an unannounced handset from Alcatel. The Sparq II is a sideways slider with a numerical keypad on the front and a QWERTY keyboard for messaging. The FCC confirms that it supports T-Mobile's spectrum bands, in addition to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Pictures show that the Sparq II includes a camera with a flash. A draft user manual included with the FCC filing mentions features such as an FM radio, web browser, media player, and support for microSD cards, but these details are not confirmed. Neither Alcatel nor T-Mobile has announced the Sparq II, and its pricing and availability are unknown.

T-Mobile Mulling GoSmart Expansion

Jan 31, 2013, 8:40 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile USA may expand its GoSmart prepaid service to more markets beginning in February, reports Fierce Wireless. T-Mobile rolled out GoSmart to select test markets in December. Citing sources familiar with T-Mobile's plans, Fierce says the company is prepared to expand GoSmart's availability to a national level. GoSmart Mobile offers SIM cards for $8 that can be activated in any unlocked GSM device. GoSmart also sells the Alcatel OT 838, a QWERTY messaging phone, for $69. Three plans are available, costing $30, $35, or $45 per month.

Geeksphone Intros Firefox OS Developer Phones

Jan 22, 2013, 8:39 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Geeksphone today announced two preview devices for Mozilla's Firefox operating system that are meant chiefly for application developers. The devices, called the Keon and the Peak, run the latest version of Firefox OS (previously known to as Boot-to-Gecko). Firefox OS is an open mobile platform based on Linux and HTML5. It uses web standards to run apps in lieu of a traditional operating system. Mozilla is giving Firefox OS to carriers and handset makers for free as a low-cost alternative to mainstream smartphone platforms.

  • Keon: The Keon is what Geeksphone calls "all you need to begin." It has entry-level specs, such as a 3.5-inch HVGA display, 1GHz Snapdragon S1 processor with 512MB of RAM, and 4GB of built-in storage. It has a 3-megapixel camera and supports microSD cards, Wi-Fi, and GPS.
  • Peak: The Peak is more of a mid-range device and features a 4.3-inch qHD IPS display, dual-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon S4 processor with 512MB of RAM, and 4GB of built-in storage. It has an 8-megapixel main camera and a 2-megapixel user-facing camera, in addition to support for microSD cards, Wi-Fi, and GPS.
The devices will receive over-the-air updates so developers will always be working with the latest version of the operating system. Pricing for the devices has not been revealed, but they will be available directly from Geeksphone beginning next month. Mozilla has won support from a number of companies for Firefox OS. Both ZTE and Alcatel have committed to launching Firefox OS devices early this year, and Sprint said it would be interested in selling Firefox OS-based devices when they become available.

Hands On with the Alcatel Scribe HD

Jan 8, 2013, 1:33 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

The Alcatel Scribe HD is a heftier device than the Idol and comes with a 5-inch, high-definition screen, too. Here are our first impressions of this Android smartphone.

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Hands On with the Alcatel Idol

Jan 8, 2013, 1:15 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jan 8, 2013, 1:15 AM

The Alcatel Idol is one of the lightest Android smartphones out there at just 3.88 ounces. It may only weigh as much as a feather, but it is no featherweight.

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Alcatel Claims Thinnest Smartphone Title

Jan 7, 2013, 8:00 AM   by Rich Brome

Alcatel One Touch today announced three new phones, including what the company claims is the world's thinnest smartphone, plus a smartphone using the new quad-core chipset from MediaTek. All are GSM/HSPA models.

  • Idol Ultra: At just 6.45 mm thin - the world's thinnest, according to Alcatel - this phone still packs in a 4.7-inch HD OLED display, 8-megapixel camera, and 1.2 GHz dual-core processor. It runs Android 4.1. The Idol Ultra is not currently slated for U.S. release due to FCC regulations, according to an Alcatel spokesperson.
  • Idol: An ultra-light smartphone weighing in at 3.88 ounces and 8.15 mm thin. Features are similar to the Idol Ultra, including dual-core 1.2 GHz processor, 4.7-inch qHD IPS LCD display, and 8-megapixel camera. It also runs Android 4.1. The Idol is planned for U.S. release in the third quarter of 2013.
  • Scribe HD: A phone for those who want a 5-inch screen, the Scribe HD also sports the new MediaTek MT6589 1.2 GHz quad-core chipset, plus an 8-megapixel camera, 4G data, and it runs Android Jelly Bean. The Scribe HD may come to the U.S. in mid-2013.

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Alcatel Brings QWERTY To AT&T GoPhone

Dec 23, 2012, 11:12 AM   by Rich Brome

AT&T recently started selling the Alcatel 871a - a basic phone with a QWERTY keyboard - through indirect channels such as Best Buy for $40. The phone sports a 2-megapixel camera, memory card slot, music player, Bluetooth, and 3G data. PCD is managing the phone's U.S. distribution for Alcatel. The phone is part of AT&T's GoPhone prepaid lineup, although it is not yet for sale through AT&T directly.

Jury Exonerates Apple and LG in Alcatel Patent Case

Dec 13, 2012, 5:21 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple and LG were today found not to infringe on Alcatel-Lucent patents. The jury's finding concludes a week-long trial that took place in San Diego federal court. Alcatel-Lucent claimed Apple and LG were violating its video compression patents in phones such as the Apple iPhone and the LG Chocolate Touch, Bliss, Mystique, and others. Alcatel-Lucent was looking to score $173 million in damages from Apple and LG. Apple's lawyers were pleased with the outcome. Neither LG nor Alcatel-Lucent offered comment. Earlier today, however, Apple was found guilty of infringing three MobileMedia patents in a separate trial. Damages in that case have yet to be assessed

T-Mobile Testing Prepaid Service Called GoSmart Mobile

Dec 7, 2012, 5:17 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile USA is conducting trials of a new prepaid wireless service named GoSmart Mobile. According to the company's web site, three plans are available. A $30 monthly plan buys unlimited voice and messaging; $35 monthly plan adds unlimited 2G data; and a $45 monthly plan adds 5GB of 4G data. (Users who exceed 5GB of data in any given billing cycle will have their data speeds throttled back to 2G for the remainder of the billing cycle.) Optional add-ons let customers get unlimited international messaging for $5 more per month, or unlimited international messaging and landline calling to 50 countries for $10 more per month. GoSmart Mobile is offering SIM cards for $8 that can be activated with any unlocked GSM device. GoSmart is also offering the Alcatel OT 838, a QWERTY messaging phone, for $69. The 838 features a 2.4-inch display, 2-megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, stereo FM radio, and a dedicated Facebook button.

FCC Reveals Alcatel Flip Phone for T-Mobile

Nov 1, 2012, 9:13 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Documents seen on the Federal Communications Commission web site reveal details about a previously unannounced handset from Alcatel. The FCC confirms that the Alcatel 768 supports T-Mobile's 3G network, as well as Bluetooth 2.1. It is a basic flip phone that includes a camera. According to the draft user manual, it also has an FM radio receiver, basic messaging and web browser, and supports microSD cards. These features aren't confirmed by the FCC, however. Neither T-Mobile nor Alcatel has released pricing or availability details for the Alcatel 768 3G.

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