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Alcatel Pushing Performance Update to Idol 3

Sep 28, 2015, 4:02 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Alcatel OneTouch today began delivering a system update to the 5.5-inch version of the Idol 3 smartphone. The improved system fixes bugs in the Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, and the Camera FV-5 apps; and also adds support for IPv6 and improves the general performance and responsiveness of the phone. The update can be installed over the air.

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Alcatel to Build Windows 10 Handset By Year's End

Sep 11, 2015, 7:45 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Alcatel OneTouch said it will release a smartphone with Microsoft's Windows 10 Mobile platform before the end of the year. "We are very supportive of the Windows ecosystem," said Steve Cistulli, Alcatel OneTouch's senior vice president for North America, to CNET. Cistulli did not provide any details about the phone, other than to say it will be inexpensive and sold through at least one U.S. carrier. Microsoft has yet to launch Windows 10 Mobile.

Hands On with Alcatel's New Phones

Sep 3, 2015, 10:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Alcatel had a handful of handsets to talk about in Berlin this week. Alcatel is targeting consumers directly with these phones and hopes they'll find a home with budget-conscious buyers. Here are our first impressions of the Go Play, Go Watch, Pop Up, and Pixi First.

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Alcatel Shows Off the Go Play, a New Mid-Tier Line

Sep 3, 2015, 10:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Alcatel OneTouch today announced the Go Play, a new series that fills the gap between its flagship Idol series and its lower Pop and Pixi series. The Go Play is nearly identical to the Conquest, which is already sold in the U.S. by Boost Mobile. Alcatel will be selling the Go Play unlocked, directly to consumers via its web site. The Go Play has a 5-inch 720p HD screen with Dragontrail Glass and 1.2GHz quad-core processor with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage. The Go Play supports AT&T/T-Mobile LTE, and has an 8-megapixel main camera, a 5-megapixel front camera, and can record full HD video. The phone features an IP67 rating for protection against water and dust, and can be used to take underwater images thanks to dedicated filters. Other features include GPS, an FM radio, and 2,500mAh battery. The phone is also drop proof. The Go Play, which will be sold in eight colors, runs Android Lollipop. Alcatel will sell the handset in the sub-$150 range later this year.

Alcatel Relaunches Watch as Go Play Accessory

Sep 3, 2015, 10:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Alcatel today announced a new version of its smartwatch called the Go Watch. The smart wearable has been given a new exterior design to match the Go Play handset. Other than the basic appearance, however, the features of the Watch remain more or less the same. The Go Watch is compatible with both Android (4.3) and iOS (7+). The device has a built in accelerometer, gyroscope, heart rate monitor, altimeter, and e-compass. Alcatel says owners will be able to track fitness (steps taken, distance traveled, etc.) and sleep cycles, as well as manage incoming notifications and remotely control media. Alcatel also added a new function that lets people "hack" their emotions. Pressing the Go button will take the owner's "emotionpulse" and generate an adjustable graphic to represent their mood. People can then choose to share that graphic and their mood to social networks if they wish. The Go Watch, which comes in several different styles, has a 1.22-inch circle display, Bluetooth 4.0, and a 225mAh battery. The USB charge port is built into the bottom of the watch to simplify charging. The Go Watch is easily removed from the casing so users can swap out bands. The Go Watch goes on sale later this year. Pricing wasn't announced.

Alcatel Touts Pop Up and Pixi First Handsets

Sep 3, 2015, 10:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Alcatel's handset roster grew by two with the Pop Up and Pixi First smartphones, which fill out the company's entry- and mid-level line-up.

  • Pop Up: The Pop Up (pictured) is a mid-ranger that focuses on creating a fun user experience thanks to interchangeable rear shells. The shells will come in a wide range of colors, materials, and finishes, such as leather, denim, and wood. Alcatel expects to sell them in three-packs for $20 to $30. The handset itself features a 5-inch 720p HD screen, Qualcomm 1.4GHz octa-core processor with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage; a 13-megapixel main camera and 5-megapixel user-facing camera; and a 2,000mAh battery. The Pop Up runs Android 5.0 Lollipop. Alcatel isn't sure if the Pop Up will be sold in the U.S. or not.
  • Pixi First: The Pixi First is an entry-level phone that targets first-time users who are cost conscious but still want a stylish handset. The Pixi First has a 4-inch WVGA screen, and a Spreadtrum 1.2GHz quad-core processor with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage. The main camera rates 5 megapixels and the user-facing camera rates 2-megapixels. Other features include GPS, Bluetooth, WiFi, and an FM radio. This phone runs Android 4.4 KitKat, but is not intended for the U.S. market.

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Nokia Forges China Joint Venture to Win Alca-Lu Approval

Aug 28, 2015, 7:53 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Nokia has signed a memorandum of understanding with a China government-backed investment company called Huaxin in order to encourage approval of its proposed acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent. The acquisition has already been approved by U.S. and E.U. antitrust bodies, but is awaiting China's decision. The joint venture, named Nokia Shanghai Bell, will mirror one Alcatel-Lucent had in place with Huaxin and may facilitate China's approval of the deal. Nokia will hold 50% of the company plus one share, and Huaxin will hold the rest. Nokia believes merging with Alcatel-Lucent will allow it to better compete with companies such as Ericsson and ZTE, which also provide network operators with telecommunications equipment.

Alcatel Bringing Smaller Idol 3 to US and Canada

Aug 10, 2015, 8:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Alcatel OneTouch today announced that it will soon sell the 4.7-inch version of its Idol 3 flagship in the U.S. and Canada. The Idol 3 4.7 shares virtually all features with the larger 5.5-inch model, which has been available since May. As the name implies, the screen measures 4.7 inches across the diagonal and it has 720p HD resolution. The phone is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor with 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. The Idol 3 4.7 has stereo JBL speakers with Clarify processing, and each speaker has its own dedicated 1.2W amplifier for full sound. The phone is reversible, meaning it can be held in any orientation and the user interface will rotate accordingly. The main camera uses a Sony sensor that rates 13 megapixels. It includes a variety of modes and video-capture options. The user-facing camera captures 5-megapixel images. Wireless radios include LTE for AT&T and T-Mobile, Bluetooth 4.1, FM radio, GPS, and WiFi. The Idol 3 4.7 supports microSD cards up to 128GB. The Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 4.7 will be available unlocked from Alcatel's web site and on Friday, Aug. 14. The retail price is $179.99.

Motorola to Issue Stagefright Fix to Most Phones

Aug 9, 2015, 1:01 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Motorola has said it, too, will push a security patch to resolve the Stagefright vulnerability found on its Android smartphones. Motorola's newest phones, the Moto X Style, Moto X Play, and Moto G (3rd Gen) will have the patches installed in the factory. Motorola is actively building patches for the Moto X, G, and E (1st Gen, 2nd Gen); Moto X Pro; Moto Maxx/Turbo; and Droid Turbo and Droid Ultra/Mini/Maxx. Motorola will begin handing the patch to its carrier partners on August 10, but it will be up to carriers to deliver the final version of the patch to end users via over-the-air software updates. Google, Samsung, Alcatel OneTouch, and LG have all said they plan to issue Stagefright security patches in the near future.

Alcatel Says Security Patch for Idol 3 Due August 10

Aug 5, 2015, 10:57 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Alcatel OneTouch today said it will issue a software update for the Idol 3 to repair a security problem on or around August 10. The fix will be pushed to U.S. users first and will include a Google security patch for the Stagefright vulnerability.

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Nokia Makes HERE Sale to Audi, BMW, Daimler Official

Aug 3, 2015, 7:27 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Nokia today formally announced the sale of its HERE Maps business unit to a consortium of three German auto makers. Audi, BMW, and Daimler have agreed to buy HERE Maps for $3 billion. Nokia has been shopping the business unit since April, soon after it announced plans to acquire Alcatel-Lucent. The three car makers will act as investors in HERE, as well as customers of the mapping business and suppliers of data. Nokia said HERE-branded mobile apps will continue to be available to Android, iOS, and Windows devices. Nokia expects to complete the sale during the first half of 2016. Once finalized, Nokia will have two business units: its telecommunications equipment unit and its technology unit.

Boost Mobile Adding Alcatel OneTouch Conquest and Elevate to Roster

Jul 29, 2015, 11:18 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Boost Mobile today announced the Alcatel OneTouch Conquest and Elevate, two low-cost Android handsets. Shared features between the two handsets include support for LTE, 5-megapixel rear cameras, 2-megapixel front cameras, and the Google Now launcher.

  • Conquest: The Conquest (pictured) features an IP67 rating for protection against water and dust. The larger of these two smartphones boasts a 5-inch 720p HD screen with Dragontrail Glass and 1.2GHz quad-core processor. The Conquest runs Android 5.0 Lollipop and costs $129.99.
  • Elevate: The Elevate has a 4.5-inch FWVGA display and quad-core 1.1GHz processor. It relies on a 2,000mAh battery to get it through the day. The Elevate runs Android 5.1 Lollipop and costs $99.99.
The Conquest is available today and the Elevate will become available in August. Boost Mobile operates on Sprint's network and does not require contracts.

New Group Working on Practical 5G

Jul 10, 2015, 9:34 AM   by Rich Brome

A large and diverse group of mobile companies have formed a new group to work on potential 5G radio technology. The group is focusing specifically on technologies that will work below 6 GHz, near the frequency bands of current mobile networks. Some recent "5G" demos have relied on much higher millimeter wave (mmW) frequencies, which have short range and cannot pass through walls. Many major players are exploring including mmW technology in 5G, but it is not expected to be the core of the standard. The new group - called FANTASTIC-5G (Flexible Air iNTerfAce for Scalable service delivery wiThin wIreless Communication networks of the 5th Generation) - includes Alcatel-Lucent, Huawei, Intel, Nokia, Samsung, Sequans Communications, and Wings ICT Solutions, as well as several European mobile operators and research institutes. Their goal is a new air interface to replace LTE that is more efficient and flexible, supporting diverse needs from fast broadband to small, low-power sensors.

Alcatel Pushing Maintenance Update to Idol 3

Jul 9, 2015, 3:29 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Alcatel OneTouch today said owners of the Idol 3 can expect to see an over-the-air update reach their phone in the coming days. The update makes refinements to the camera app and double-tap-to-unlock feature, and makes other general performance improvements. The update is free to install.

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Alcatel Conquest Coming to Boost

Jun 10, 2015, 2:30 PM   by Rich Brome

The FCC today approved the Alcatel One Touch Conquest for Boost Mobile. FCC documents show an Android phone with a colorful design, tri-band LTE, Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor, a camera with flash, and a front camera. Slots on the side accept a memory card and the SIM card. The battery does not appear to be removable. The phone would be Alcatel's second phone for a Sprint brand, and first smartphone. Alcatel has made significant inroads into the U.S. market in recent years, mostly with T-Mobile.

Alcatel OneTouch Pop Astro Takes Off with T-Mobile

Apr 29, 2015, 8:07 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today said the Alcatel OneTouch Pop Astro is available online and in stores for $149. T-Mobile customers can pay full price for the phone, or break the price down to 24 monthly payments of $6.24. The phone has a 4.5-inch qHD display and it is powered by a 1.5GHz quad-core MediaTek processor with 1 GB of RAM and 4 GB of storage. The main camera has a 5-megapixel sensor while the front camera has a VGA sensor. The phone has a 2,000mAh battery and supports memory cards up to 32 GB. Alcatel says the Pop Astro supports VoLTE and T-Mobile's WiFi calling feature. The Pop Astro runs Android 4.4 KitKat.

Alcatel Launches Idol 3 Pre-Sale At Discounted $199 Price

Apr 17, 2015, 9:52 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Alcatel OneTouch today kicked off a limited pre-sale for the Idol 3 smartphone that drops the price by $50. The pre-sale starts immediately and runs through 11:59pm Pacific Time on April 20. Customers who order the phone during this initial pre-sale window will pay only $199.99 for the phone. After the pre-sale ends, Alcatel will begin accepting standard pre-orders on April 21 at the regular price of $249.99. Alcatel said the Idol 3 will ship in mid-May. The phone, which is compatible with the GSM networks operated by AT&T and T-Mobile, is being sold unlocked.

Nokia to Buy Alcatel-Lucent, Mulling Options for HERE Maps

Apr 15, 2015, 7:12 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Nokia today said it has agreed to acquire Alcatel-Lucent for $16.6 billion. The combined companies would be a giant in the telecom equipment space with more than 100,000 employees. The terms of the deal will see Nokia acquire all of Alcatel-Lucent's stock, as traded in both France and the U.S. The companies' boards of directors have approved the deal, though shareholders have yet to vote on the acquisition. The deal will also require regulatory approval. The companies expect the deal to close during the first half of 2016. Once combined, the companies will streamline redundant operations, but believe the 40,000 research and development at its disposal employees will be able to make the company a world leader in the connected IP space. Nokia-Alcatel-Lucent will specifically target the development of 5G wireless networks. The largest competitors remaining are Ericsson and Huawei, though ZTE, Samsung, and others make telecommunications equipment, too. In addition to announcing the Alcatel-Lucent deal, Nokia said it has begun a review of strategic options for its HERE Maps business. Nokia acquired Navteq's mapping business in 2007 and turned it into a competitive global company. Nokia's HERE Maps are available to the Android, iOS, and Windows Phone platforms, as well as online, and provide robust driving, walking, and transit directions. Nokia said its review of HERE Maps may or may not result in a transaction.

Nokia Confirms Talks to Acquire Alcatel-Lucent

Apr 14, 2015, 7:25 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent today said they are in advanced talks concerning a merger or acquisition between the two. Such a deal would would produce a massive competitor to Sweden's Ericsson and China's Huawei in the telecommunications market. Nokia said the deal currently being considered would entail a "full combination" of the two companies, though the deal could still fall apart. Alcatel-Lucent is valued at about $11.63 billion while Nokia is valued at about $29.59 billion. France, where Alcatel-Lucent is based, is wary of the deal. "The government will be very vigilant regarding the possible consequences on employment and activity at the French sites of Alcatel-Lucent, notably in research and development, as well as the effects on the entire telecoms sector in France," said the French economy ministry. The combined entities could employ more than 100,000 workers, but Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent have on their own slashed thousands of jobs over the years. Nokia bought out its networking partner Siemens in 2014 to abolish Nokia Siemens Networks and form the current Nokia Corp. Alcatel-Lucent was formed in 2006 when France's Alcatel merger with the US's Lucent. A Nokia-Alcatel-Lucent merger could face significant hurdles attempting to gain regulatory approval.

Alcatel's Idol 3 Phablet Ships In May for $249

Apr 9, 2015, 8:15 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Alcatel OneTouch today revealed availability details for its Idol 3 flagship smartphone. Consumers will be able to pre-order the phone directly from Alcatel's web site beginning April 21 for $249. Alcatel said orders will ship in May. The Idol 3 comes in two sizes — 5.5 inches and 4.7 inches — but Alcatel is only offering the larger of the two at this time. The Idol 3 (5.5) has a full HD screen and octa-core Snapdragon 615 processor with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. The processor includes four cores at 1.5GHz and four cores at 1.0GHz. The Idol 3 has stereo JBL speakers with Clarify processing and 1.2W amplifiers. The phone is reversible, meaning it can be held in any orientation and the user interface will rotate accordingly. The main camera uses a 13-megapixel Sony sensor that includes a variety of modes and video-capture tools. The phone has an 8-megapixel user-facing camera with wide-angle lens. Connectivity options include LTE and HSPA+, Bluetooth 4.1, FM radio, GPS, and WiFi. The Idol 3 has a 2,910mAh battery and supports microSD cards up to 128 GB. It is being sold unlocked and is compatible with GSM networks. Alcatel didn't say if or when the 4.7-inch model will be made available.

Alcatel Opens Preorders for Smartwatch

Mar 31, 2015, 10:11 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Alcatel OneTouch today made its smartwatch available for preorder through its web site. The watch, announced earlier this year, runs a proprietary operating system and is compatible with both Android and iOS devices. The wearable can track workouts and heartrate, notify users to incoming calls/messages, and control music playback. Users can take advantage of a wrist-shaking gesture to launch their smartphone's camera, if they wish. The watch will initially ship with a black band, but other colors will become available later this year. The Alcatel OneTouch Watch costs $149.99. Alcatel didn't specify when the watch will ship.

Total Wireless MVNO Launching Through Walmart

Mar 17, 2015, 12:09 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Total Wireless, an MVNO, recently launched exclusively in Walmart stores. The prepaid service provider offers a handful of low-cost, no-contract plans in addition to a limited lineup of smartphones. The entry-level plan, for example, costs $25 per month and offers unlimited calling and messaging, but no data. Adding $10 buys access to 2.5GB of data. The company also offers shared data plans for two, three, or four lines for $60, $85, and $110, respectively. These plans include 5GB, 9GB, and 12GB of shared data, respectively. The company also offers a data rollover add-on for an extra $10 per month. Total Wireless' handsets include entry-level devices from Alcatel OneTouch, Motorola, Samsung, and ZTE. Total Wireless has not named its carrier partner, but based on the coverage map it is likely Verizon Wireless.

Sprint Marketing the Alcatel Retro to Seniors

Mar 13, 2015, 2:26 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint today announced the availability of the Alcatel OneTouch Retro, a simple flip phone with accessibility features on board. The device, which is also sold as the Speakeasy and Fling, is being marketed to senior users as well as those who are hard of hearing or visually impaired. The phone can verbally describe the user interface so visually impaired users can navigate through the menus. The text-to-speech engine offers variable speeds and can read notifications and messages, too. The Retro features large buttons, multiple font sizes, hearing aid support, and has a high-contrast black-and-white screen. The phone also includes a music player, 2-megapixel camera, and Bluetooth. The Alcatel OneTouch Retro is available at Sprint stores today for $4 per month with Sprint Easy Pay or for the full retail price of $96. Retro is also available through Sprint Prepaid for $19.99.

Alcatel to Sell Hero 2+ with Cyanogen In US

Mar 2, 2015, 11:15 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Alcatel OneTouch today announced the Hero 2+, a phablet running Cyanogen, which is a modified version of Android. The Hero 2+ is a refreshed version of last year's Hero 2. The The Cyanogen 11 operating system is based on Android 4.4.4 KitKat. It includes Cyanogen's Privacy Guard software, which lets users protect their information, as well as encrypt and remotely lock/wipe their device. Cyanogen has supplied its own set of themes and wallpapers to the user interface in addition to camera software and other tools. The phone has a 6-inch full HD display with a built-in stylus. It is powered by a 2.0GHz octa-core Cortex A7 processor from MediaTek paired with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. The main camera captures 13 megapixels and the user-facing camera captures 5 megapixels. Both can film full HD video. Alcatel plans to sell the phone directly to consumers across North America through its e-commerce web site. The phone will be sold unlocked for $299. Alcatel expects it to go on sale during the second quarter.

Hands-On: Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3

Mar 1, 2015, 11:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Alcatel's new flagship Android smartphones impress with their features, build quality, and cost. Here are Phone Scoop's first impressions of these mid-market killers.

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Alcatel OneTouch Aims High with Idol 3 Flagship

Mar 1, 2015, 11:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Alcatel OneTouch today announced the Idol 3, its global flagship series for 2015. The Idol 3 series encompasses two handsets, one with a 4.7-inch display and another with a 5.5-inch display. The phones share many features, such as the design, which features a thin-and-light look with a polycarbonate edge polished to a chrome-like finish and a back cover that mimics brushed metal. The Idol 3 packs stereo JBL speakers with Clarify processing, and each has its own dedicated 1.2W amplifier for full sound. The phones are reversible, meaning they can be held in any orientation and the user interface will rotate accordingly. The main camera uses a Sony sensor that rates 13 megapixels. It includes a variety of modes and video-capture options. Connectivity options include LTE and HSPA+, Bluetooth 4.1, FM radio, GPS, and WiFi. The Idol 3 devices support microSD cards up to 128GB.

  • Idol 3 (5.5): The larger of the two has a full HD screen and octa-core Snapdragon 615 processor with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. The processor includes four cores at 1.5GHz and four cores at 1.0GHz. This phone has an 8-megapixel user-facing camera with wide-angle lens, and a 2,910mAh battery. The retail price is $249.
  • Idol 3 (4.7): This model is more compact and includes a 720p HD screen. It features a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor with 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. The phone has a 5-megapixel user-facing camera and a 2,000mAh battery. The retail price is $199.
Alcatel said the Idol 3 handsets will go on sale globally during the second quarter of the year. Both will be made available unlocked (compatible with GSM networks) through Alcatel's e-commerce web site in the U.S. The company said it is talking to U.S. carriers about distribution deals, but doesn't have any plans in place just yet.

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T-Mobile's 'Score!' Program Offers Discounted Upgrades

Jan 25, 2015, 6:45 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today unveiled a new program for consumers interested in cheaper handset upgrades called Score. With Score, users will qualify for a free entry-level smartphone after six months or significant discounts on all T-Mobile devices after 12 months. Score costs $5 per month and is open to all T-Mobile customers, whether prepaid or postpaid. After paying $5 per month for six months, for example, customers may choose to get the Alcatel OneTouch Evolve 2 at no additional cost; or, after paying $5 per month for 12 months, take $150 off the price of the Motorola Nexus 6 or $100 off the Samsung Galaxy S5. (Actual handset discounts will vary based on when the customer chooses to upgrade.) Customers who enroll in Score today will be able to upgrade to a new, free phone as soon as July 25 or enjoy a heavily discounted flagship as soon as Jan. 25, 2016.

Alcatel Launches Direct Online Sales In U.S.

Jan 8, 2015, 12:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Alcatel OneTouch today announced the inaugural offering of its e-commerce web site, through which U.S. consumers can purchase Alcatel OneTouch smartphones and tablets. The initial selection of smartphones includes the Idol X+ ($275) and the Idol S 2 ($198), while the initial selection of tablets includes the Pop 7 ($149) and Pop 8 ($199). All four are being sold unlocked with support for select GSM networks. The site is being powered by Amazon. Alcatel said more handsets will be made available via the site over time. Alcatel also indicated that its Watch Series smart wearable will be available from the site beginning in March.

TCL to Revive Palm with Help from the Tech Community

Jan 6, 2015, 6:01 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jan 6, 2015, 6:05 PM

TCL Communications, the parent company of Alcatel OneTouch, today confirmed to Phone Scoop that it has acquired the Palm brand and plans to revive the failed tech company. "We are interested in the brand because we believe the brand has value," said TCL CEO George Guo. "It was once a very strong brand and there are many fans of this brand around the world, including people at TCL." TCL intends to resurrect Palm with new hardware, software, and services — but not on its own. It will ask the community to contribute ideas for potential new devices, operating systems, and apps. It will commit engineers and its manufacturing resources to the project, but hopes much of the R&D will come from the tech community at large. TCL said it hasn't worked out the details of how this community-driven revival will function, but it is confident it can restore luster to the brand. "Palm was an original pioneer and we want to keep it that way. We want to attract the people who have ideas on how to revive the brand in a meaningful way." Guo shot down the idea of using webOS, which is owned by LG, and ran on the Palm Pre, Pixi, and other phones. "We are open to all ideas, but probably not webOS," said Guo. "Palm built by Palm fans is the intent." TCL expects to eventually offer both Alcatel- and Palm-branded products in the US. TCL said it couldn't comment on the terms of the acquisition. It will provide more details as they are developed.

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Hands-On: Alcatel Watch Series

Jan 5, 2015, 8:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Alcatel believes its Android- and iOS-compatible smartwatch will outgun the competition with a low price point. Here are our initial thoughts.

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Alcatel's Smartwatch to Work with Android and iOS

Jan 5, 2015, 8:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Alcatel today provided more information about its forthcoming Watch Series and said the wearable is compatible with both Android and iOS. The Watch Series does not run Android Wear, but instead uses a proprietary operating system that Alcatel claims is simpler to use than Android Wear. Users of Android 4.3 devices or iOS 7 devices and newer will be able to download an accompanying app from the Play Store or iTunes App Store, respectively, to interact with the wearable. The device has a built in accelerometer, gyroscope, heart rate monitor, altimeter, and e-compass. Alcatel says owners will be able to track fitness (steps taken, distance traveled, etc.) and sleep cycles, as well as manage incoming notifications and even remotely control media. The Watch Series, which comes in several different styles, has a 1.22-inch circle display, Bluetooth 4.0, and a 210mAh battery. The USB charge port is built directly into the end of the strap. Alcatel claims it takes only an hour to charge the watch, which can then run for one to two days per charge. The Alcatel Watch Series goes on sale later this year for $149.

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Alcatel to Bring Innovation Center to San Francisco

Jan 3, 2015, 11:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Alcatel OneTouch today announced the expansion of its innovation accelerator program to North America. The company believes the new San Francisco-based center will encourage developers and startups to use its resources to create apps and services. Developers who take advantage of the innovation accelerator program will have access to Alcatel's partners, suppliers, and customers. Alcatel hopes to foster collaboration and sustainable relationships with the developer community, which could lead to better apps and services on its handsets down the road. Alcatel didn't say exactly how soon the innovation accelerator will open its doors.

Alcatel OneTouch Pixi 3 Can Run Android, Firefox, or Windows

Jan 2, 2015, 11:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jan 2, 2015, 11:41 AM

Alcatel OneTouch today announced the Pixi 3 series, an affordable selection of smartphones that is among the first to run one of three different operating systems. The Pixi 3 series can be loaded with the Android, Firefox, or Windows Phone platforms. Consumers won't be able to switch/load the operating system themselves; rather, the devices will be programmed by carriers. Further, the series comes with four different screen sizes (3.5, 4.0, 4.5, and 5.0 inches). With the variety of operating systems and screen sizes available, consumers can find the perfect device for their needs. The Pixi 3 series also supports 3G and LTE 4G for many regions around the world. Alcatel did not provide more details about the Pixi 3 series, such as specs, pricing, or availability. Alcatel OneTouch also launched its foray into wearables today with a new smartwatch. The Alcatel Watch Series promises to offer elegant and affordable wearables that undercut the competition. According to Alcatel, the Watch Series is packed with sensors and apps that can monitor daily activities. It connects to Android devices and can be used to control music, take photos, and receive notifications. Alcatel did not say what platform the Watch Series runs, nor did it provide any specs or other details. Alcatel OneTouch has more news planned for the days ahead during the Consumer Electronics Show.

MetroPCS Selling Alcatel OneTouch Fierce 2

Oct 15, 2014, 6:39 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

MetroPCS has added the Alcatel OneTouch Fierce 2 to its roster of Android smartphones. The device, which is already being sold by Metro parent T-Mobile, costs $50 after a $100 discount. MetroPCS doesn't require contracts.

AT&T Bringing Affordable Alcatel OneTouch C1 to GoPhone

Oct 2, 2014, 8:28 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T's GoPhone prepaid service today added the Alcatel OneTouch C1 to its roster of inexpensive smartphones. The C1 is an entry-level device with a 3.5-inch HVGA screen, 2-megapixel camera, dual-core 1.0GHz processor with 512MB of RAM, and 1,400mAh battery. It includes 4GB of internal storage and supports microSD cards up to 32GB. The C1 runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. The Alcatel OneTouch C1 costs $60 and will be available at select national retailers beginning this month.

Apple Releases Tool to Check if Used iPhones Are Stolen

Oct 2, 2014, 7:21 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple recently published a web site that allows prospective buyers of used iPhones to check the phone's status before making a purchase. As long as the IMEI or serial number is available, users can enter the data into Apple's Activation Lock site to determine if the device was reported stolen by its rightful owner. Apple's Find My iPhone tool lets people not only locate lost or stolen iPhones, but wipe them and render them useless through the Activation Lock. Devices that cannot be activated are essentially worthless. The tool works with the iPad and iPod Touch, as well.

Microsoft Announces Windows 10 for Varied Devices

Sep 30, 2014, 1:02 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today announced the next version of Windows will be called Windows 10. According to Microsoft, Windows 10 will encompass "one product family, one platform, one store." Windows 10 will run on desktops, laptops, tablets, and phones. Microsoft says the operating system will offer users a seamless experience across multiple different form factors with varied input types (mouse, pen, touch). One of the key components will be the shared code so developers can create apps that run on any of the supported form factors with little customization. Microsoft shied away from sharing too many specifics as far as features go, but noted that preview builds of the desktop platform will reach consumers in early 2015. The company didn't make any commitments as to when then next version of Windows Phone will be available.

Hands-On: Alcatel OneTouch Pop Mega and Pop Star

Sep 29, 2014, 7:10 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Alcatel revealed two new Android smartphones headed to Tracfone later this year, the Pop Mega and the Pop Star. Here are a few thoughts on these low-cost cell phones.

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Apple Releases iOS 8.0.2 to Resolve iPhone Issues

Sep 25, 2014, 7:38 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made available iOS 8.0.2, an update that Apple says fixes an issue in iOS 8.0.1 that impacted cellular network connectivity and Touch ID on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. In addition to resolving the cellular connectivity issue, the update also repairs a number of other issues. For example, it fixes a bug so HealthKit apps can now be made available in the App Store. It also: addresses an issue where third party keyboards could become deselected when a user enters their passcode; fixes an issue that prevented some apps from accessing photos from the Photo Library; improves the reliability of the Reachability feature on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus; fixes an issue that could cause unexpected cellular data usage when receiving SMS/MMS messages; fixes an issue where ringtones were sometimes not restored from iCloud backups; and fixes a bug that prevented uploading photos and videos from Safari. iOS 8.0.2 is free to download and install over the air, or via iTunes.

BlackBerry Passport Goes On Sale Weds. for $599

Sep 22, 2014, 9:19 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

BlackBerry CEO John S. Chen today said it will begin to sell the Passport smartphone on Wednesday. BlackBerry has provided few details about the device so far. It features a square shape that includes both a 4.5-inch touchscreen and a physical QWERTY keyboard. It also features a large antenna to aid reception and boasts 36 hours of continuous use. The phone, the first BlackBerry has released in a year, will run BlackBerry OS 10.3. It will be available in Toronto, London, and Dubai on Wednesday, and "a lot of places will have it" within two weeks. Chen didn't specify when it will go on sale in the U.S., but it will be sold directly to consumers, unsubsidized for $599.

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