TCL today announced that its Alcatel 3V phone, first revealed earlier this year, will be available for sale in the weeks ahead. The Alcatel 3V has a 6-inch, 18:9 display and includes a quad-core MediaTek processor with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage. The rear camera has a 12-megapixel main sensor and 2-megapixel secondary sensor for bokeh-style photos. The phone includes Social Mode photo tool, such as quick editing, and side-by-side comparing in the 2:1 screen. Instant Collage lets people combine their best pix into a single image, and Photo Booth acts like an old-school photo booth by creating four images in a strip. The 3V includes a fingerprint reader and runs Android 8 Oreo. The Alcatel 3V is unlocked to GSM networks and will be available in the U.S. in black for $149.99 on Amazon next week, with availability at Best Buy and Walmart stores to follow in the coming weeks.
Security Research Labs says Android phone makers often miss security patches but still tell owners the phones are up-to-date. Researchers Karsten Nohl and Jakob Lell examined the code of some 1,200 phones from more than a dozen phone makers for every security patch released during 2017. They discovered phones from nearly all makers missed at least some patches. Phones from Google, Sony, and Samsung ranked fairly well, missing an average of just one patch. Phones from Xiaomi, Nokia, and OnePlus missed between one and three patches per update, while devices from HTC, Motorola, LG, and Huawei missed three to four, and phones from TCL (Alcatel) and ZTE often missed more than four patches per update. High-end devices with processors from Samsung or Qualcomm were more likely to updated properly, while low-cost devices with processors from MediaTek were less likely to be updated properly. Nohl and Lell say what's worse than the missed patches are the phone makers' claims to the contrary. "We find that there's a gap between patching claims and the actual patches installed on a device. It's small for some devices and pretty significant for others," said Nohl to Wired. "We found several vendors that didn’t install a single patch but changed the patch date forward by several months. That’s deliberate deception." The researchers claim this lulls consumers into a false sense of security, though they admit that hacking into Android phones through any of the missed patches is a difficult task at best. In response to the data, Google argued that not all the devices researched were Android certified, and that modern Android phones have other security measures in place to protect them. "Security updates are one of many layers used to protect Android devices and users," said Scott Roberts, Android product security lead at Google. "Built-in platform protections, such as application sandboxing, and security services, such as Google Play Protect, are just as important." Still, Google said it would work with Security Research Labs to investigate Nohl and Lell's findings.
TCL today announced that it intends to sell the Alcatel 1X with Android Go and the Alcatel 3V in the U.S. at some point over the next few months. Both phones were announced earlier this year. The Alcatel 1X (pictured) is a small, entry-level device with the Android 8.1 Oreo Go Edition on board. Android Go is intended for low-powered phones and includes optimized Go variants of core apps such as Gmail, Maps, and YouTube. The 1X has a 5.3-inch, 18:9 screen with a quad-core MediaTek processor, 1 GB of RAM, 16 GB of storage, 8-megapixel main camera and 5-megapixel selfie camera. The U.S. version, priced at $100, will include a fingerprint reader. The Alcatel 3V has a 6-inch, 18:9 display and includes a quad-core MediaTek processor with 2 GB of RAM and at least 16 GB of storage. The rear camera has a 12-megapixel main sensor and 2-megapixel secondary sensor for bokeh-style photos. The 3V comes in black, gold, or blue with a fingerprint reader, and runs Android 8 Oreo. TCL said more details will be made available soon.
Alcatel has a new lineup of very affordable Android phones with 2:1 displays. They come in three sizes. Some have curved-edge glass on the front, and one has a dual camera setup with a wide-angle lens. Read on for our first impressions of the newly-announced 3 and 3x models.
TCL today announced the Alcatel 5 Series, an Android handset that TCL describes as an "affordable flagship." The phone has a brushed metallic unibody design with a rear-mounted fingerprint reader and face ID for rapid unlocking. Core features include a 5.7-inch display with HD+ (1,440 by 720) resolution and the 18:9 aspect ratio. TCL opted for an octa-core MediaTek processor with four cores clocked at 1.5 GHz for high-power tasks and four clocked at 1.0 GHz for low-power tasks. The phone comes with either 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage, or 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage. Both variants support microSD cards up to 32 GB. The device has a single 12-megapixel camera on the rear at f/2.2 with EIS, HDR, and panorama. TCL added new editing tools called Social Mode, which allow owners to take and review square images at the same time, create instant collages, and apply filters through the Photo Booth mode. The 5 Series is unique in that it has two front-facing cameras, one at 13 megapixels and the other at 5 megapixels. The secondary lens offers wide-angle selfies. Other selfie tools include face beautification, face recognition, and video stories. TCL says the Face Key identity tool takes less than half a second to recognize the owner's face. Further, the fingerprint reader can be customized to take different actions depending on which finger unlocks the phone, such as the camera with an index finger or Facebook with a middle finger. Rounding out the specs, the Alcatel 5 Series has a 3,000mAh battery, Bluetooth 4.2, WiFi, GPS, Cat 4 LTE, USB-C, and an FM radio. The phone runs Android 7 Nougat and comes in black or gold. It is available immediately in select markets for about $250.
Alcatel today announced its 3 Series smartphones, part of its larger family of new Android handsets. The 3 Series encompasses three phones that will offer screens measuring 5.5 inches (3), 5.7 inches (3X), and 6 inches (3V). All three screens adopt the 18:9 aspect ratio. While the 3 and 3x use HD+ (1,440 by 720) resolution, the 3V jumps to full HD+ (2,160 by 1,080) resolution. All three phones share a number of features, such as 2.5D curved front glass, curved rear panels, dual cameras, and fingerprint sensors. Each includes Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, microUSB, memory card support, and LTE 4G. The 3 series phones share the same 5-megapixel selfie camera with LED flash, and each packs a 3,000mAh battery.
- 3V: The largest of the three phones (pictured) includes a quad-core MediaTek processor clocked at 1.45 GHz with 2 GB of RAM and 16 or 32 GB of storage. The rear camera has a 12-megapixel main sensor and 2-megapixel secondary sensor for bokeh-style photos. Other camera features include HDR, panorama, EIS, filters, and video stabilization. It comes in black, gold, or blue, and runs Android 8 Oreo.
- 3X: The mid-sized member of this pack has a quad-core MediaTek processor clocked at 1.28 GHz and it ships with with 2 or 3 GB of RAM and either 16 or 32 GB of storage, depending on the variant. Its dual-camera setup includes a 13-megapixel main sensor with HDR, two-tone LED flash, and EIS, accompanied by a 5-megapixel secondary sensor with wide-angle shooting. It comes in blue, black, or gold, and runs Android 7 Nougat.
- 3: The smallest of the three phones has a quad-core MediaTek processor clocked at 1.28 GHz and it ships with with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage. The camera boasts a 13-megapixel sensor with EIS and HDR. The Alcatel 3 runs Android 8 Oreo and comes in blue, black, or gold.
TCL's Alcatel brand today announced the 1x, an entry-level Android device that runs Android 8.1 Oreo Go Edition. The phone is part of TCL's new lineup of Android handsets, all of which feature 18:9 displays. The 1x has a 5.3-inch screen with 960 by 480 resolution and it is powered by a quad-core MediaTek processor clocked at 1.28 GHz. The phone ships with 1 or 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage. The main camera has a 13-megapixel sensor at f/2.0 with EIS and HDR, while the user-facing camera has an 8-megapixel sensor with selfie flash. Other hardware features include Cat 4 LTE, Bluetooth, GPS, and WiFi; microUSB and memory card slot; and a 2,420mAh battery. Some variants of the phone will include a fingerprint reader. The phone is among a new wave of Android Go-based devices. It includes Go-optimized versions of core apps, including Google Assistant Go, Google Go, Files Go, Google Maps Go, YouTube Go, and Gmail Go, as well as performance optimizations to Chrome, Google Play, and Gboard. The Android Go platform is designed to run on low-spec'd hardware, particularly phones with 1 GB or less of RAM. The Alcatel 1x will go on sale in select markets in April. TCL didn't immediately say if or when the 1x might reach the U.S.
Alcatel today announced two new mobile hotspots, the Linkzone Cat 12 and Linkzone Cat 7. The Cat 12 hotspot boasts a large 4,300mAh battery that delivers 15 hours of connected surfing for up to 32 devices. The Cat 12 LTE radio delivers download speeds up to 600 Mbps thanks to 3-channel carrier aggregation. The Cat 7 hotspot has a smaller 2,150mAh battery that delivers up to 8 hours of surfing time. The Cat 7 LTE radio supports download speeds up to 300 Mbps due to 2-channel carrier aggregation. Both devices support microSD memory cards up to 256 GB for connected storage. TCL says the Alcatel Linkzone Cat 12 and Linkzone Cat 7 all go on sale in select markets later this year. Pricing is about $200 for the Cat 12 and $125 for the Cat 7.
Google says its Android Messages app is on the upswing thanks to new RCS-based tools and growing support from phone makers and wireless network operators. To start, brands now have more power to interact with consumers thanks to RCS business messaging. Google says brands can "send more useful and interactive messages" to their customers with photos, videos, and links for purchasing. A number of companies have been testing RCS business messaging via Google's Early Access Program. Some include 1-800 Contacts, 1-800-Flowers.com, Booking.com, SnapTravel, and Subway — all on Sprint in the U.S. Google says more businesses will be deploying richer messaging via the Android Messages app over the coming months. The Android Messages app has gained a lot of traction with phone makers and carriers, and more support is on the way. Moving forward, Alcatel, BlackBerry, Transsion, Blu, Positivo, Multilaser, Mobiwire, Azumi, and Essential will all preload Android Messages as the default SMS/messaging app. A number of phone makers already offer Android Messages, including Huawei, LG, HMD Global, HTC, Kyocera, Motorola, Sony, and ZTE. The app has a growing footprint with carriers, as well. Google says America Movil, AT&T in Mexico, Celcom Axiata Berhad, Freedom Mobile, Oi, Telia Company, and Telefonica have joined Deutsche Telekom, Globe Telecom, Orange, Rogers Communications, Sprint, and Telenor in their commitment to launch RCS messaging. Sprint is the lone U.S. carrier to go all-in with Google's RCS and Android Messages. AT&T and Verizon each offers its own RCS-based messaging client for Android handsets. Google believes this new momentum for RCS and Android Messages will eventually mean a better messaging experience between people, brands, and more.
Cricket Wireless today rolled out a new promotion that will give free phones to people who switch from another network. The phones on offer are the LG Fortune and the Alcatel Verso, entry-level Android handsets. People who switch can score the two free phones as well as two lines of unlimited service for $80 per month. Families of four can earn free phones, too, with a monthly service bill of just $100 for unlimited data. In this case, unlimited data is limited to 3 Mbps and video is limited to standard definition. Those who exceed 22 GB of data per month will see speeds slowed for the remainder of the billing period. The free phone promo is available through April 12 or while supplies last.
Cricket Wireless recently added the Alcatel Verso, a minor upgrade to the Alcatel Ideal Xcite, to its lineup of entry-level Android handsets. This $30 smartphone offers low-end specs to keep the price down. It starts with a 5-inch FWVGA (854 x 480) display with scratch-resistant Dragontrail Glass. The phone is powered by a 1.1 GHz quad-core processor with 16 GB of storage and support for memory cards up to 128 GB. The main camera boasts a 5-megapixel sensor with flash and HD video capture while the front camera touts a 2-megapixel camera. Other specs include a 2,050mAh battery, LTE with HD voice and mobile hotspot, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, and WiFi. The Alcatel Verso runs Android 7 Nougat. The phone is available online from Cricket Wireless for $30 for new and existing customers.
Alcatel showed off new hardware at CES this week, though it stopped short of fully announcing any new phones. The 5 Series, 3 Series, and 1 Series devices will encompass its entire smartphone range moving forward. The company had several prototypes on hand for each and we took a look at this not-yet-final phones. Here are our initial impressions.
TCL Communication today announced three new devices falling under the Alcatel brand. These phones are the first in a range of affordable devices that target different price points. For example, the 5 Series will have price points that fall under $300, while the 3 Series and 1 Series will have price points that fall under $200 and $100, respectively. The first three phones in the Series include the 5, the 3V, and the 1X. These will be joined by others throughout the 2018 calendar year. Of note, all three series adopt the modern 2:1 aspect ratio display, and all three series include fingerprint sensors. The Alcatel 5 has dual front cameras, while the 3V has dual rear cameras. TCL didn't provide any detailed specifications for these devices, which will be more formally introduced at the Mobile World Congress trade show in February. The company did explain that it will use a mix of Qualcomm and MediaTek processors, and is for the first time sourcing the smartphone screens from TCL Display. The company said these devices will be its focus moving forward, though older brands such as Idol and Pop will continue to be available for some time. More information about the new Alcatel 5 Series, 3 Series, and 1 Series will come to light next month.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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 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 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 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 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 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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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 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.
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.
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.
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 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 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