Info & Phones News
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 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'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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
U.S. Cellular today announced the Alcatel OneTouch Shockwave, a new Android 2.3 Gingerbread smartphone. The Shockwave, which was first spotted on the FCC web site in September, is a semi-rugged device that is water, shock, and dust resistant. Its 3.5-inch HVGA display is protected by "Dragontrail" glass for scratch resistance. The Shockwave also sports an 800MHz processor, 3.2-megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and 1GB of built-in storage. The Shockwave is available starting today via U.S. Cellular's web site and retail stores for $49.99.
Alltel Wireless recently announced the addition of the Alcatel One Touch Ultra 960C to is lineup. The One Touch Ultra is a variant of the Alcatel Authority, which is sold by Cricket Wireless. The One Touch Ultra has a large, 4.3-inch WVGA display, 5-megapixel camera with 720p video capture, and runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread. It is powered by a single core 1.4GHz processor, includes the Swype virtual keyboard, and Bluetooth 3.0. The One Touch Ultra is available for $19.99 with a new two-year agreement, or $199.99 with one of Alltel's No Contract plans.
AT&T recently added the Alcatel OT510A to its roster of GoPhone devices. The OT510A is an entry-level bar style phone that has 3G, GPS, text and picture messaging, and Bluetooth, but lacks a camera and email. Pricing for the Alcatel OT510A has yet to be provided.
Phone Scoop spends some time with the ZTE Engage and the Alcatel Authority, two new Android phones headed to Cricket in the coming weeks.
Cricket Wireless will soon be announcing two new Android phones, the ZTE Engage and the Alcatel Authority. The Engage, which was spotted on the FCC web site earlier this month, features a 4-inch WVGA display, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, an 8-megapixel main camera with flash, and a user-facing camera. It also comes with SRS Audio and is compatible with Cricket's MuveMusic service. The Alcatel Authority has a larger, 4.3-inch WVGA display, 5 megapixel camera and runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread. Both have single core 1.4GHz processors. Pricing and availability details for both devices, which will run on Cricket's 3G network, will be shared by Cricket in October.
Documents seen on the Federal Communications Commission reveal details about an unannounced Android smartphone made by Alcatel bound for U.S. Cellular. The documentation refers to the device as the One Touch 988 Shockwave, which supports the spectrum bands used by U.C. Cellular and bears U.S. Cellular branding. It is a bar-style touch phone and, according to the draft user manual, runs Android 2.3, includes a 3.5-inch HVGA display, 3.2-megapixel camera, and support for microSD cards. The FCC documents confirm that the device also includes Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. U.S. Cellular hasn't announced plans to sell this device, and availability is unknown at this point.
Virgin Mobile USA recently began accepting preorders for the Venture, a monoblock Android smartphone that includes both a full QWERTY keyboard and a 2.8-inch touch display. The phone is made by Alcatel One Touch and distributed by PCD. The Venture also includes a 600MHz processor, Bluetooth 3.0, a 2-megapixel camera with LED flash, microSD support up to 32GB, Wi-Fi, GPS, and speakerphone. It runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread and costs $99. It will be available to buy outright on Thursday, March 15.