Alcatel has kicked off this year’s CES by announcing a Canadian release for its flagship smartphones, the One Touch Idol X and the Idol Mini, on Bell and Virgin Mobile Canada. And if Canadian release info doesn’t do it for you, it’s also showing off a few new, oddly named devices: the octa-core Idol X+, the Pop C9 smartphone, and the Pop 7 and Pop 8 tablets at the Las Vegas show.
Now, there’s a good chance that you’ve never heard of Alcatel, but according to a recent Strategy Analytics report it is the sixth largest mobile phone vendor in the world. The company behind Alcatel is the Chinese consumer electronics giant, TCL, and it was originally formed as a joint venture with the French telecommunications company, Alcatel-Lucent back in 2004. The following year TCL acquired the French stake, but it continued to operate in Europe and North America using the Alcatel brand.
In 2014 the company is gearing up to widen its smartphone and tablet range, and grow its presence in North America in the process. Here’s the new line-up.
Alcatel One Touch Idol X+
The Idol X+ is an upgrade for the original Idol X and it features MediaTek’s first octa-core processor, clocked at 2GHz. The design is a svelte 7.9mm thick, and it boasts a 1080p 5-inch display, and a 13.1-megapixel camera, with a 2-megapixel front-facing camera. The eight cores in the processor are employed to ensure fast Web browsing, high-end 3D graphics, and more efficient power management, so you’ll squeeze extra mileage out of the 2,500mAh rated battery. It has 16GB of internal storage, with a MicroSD card slot to give you up to 32GB extra. Alcatel also boasts about Hi-Fi sound with SACD (Super Audio CD) support, which is potentially four times better than a standard CD. It will run Android 4.2.
The specs are premium, but the price won’t be, as it’s going on sale under the TCL name for around $330 in China. We’ll bring you news on pricing and release dates closer to home just as soon as we know.
Alcatel One Touch Pop C9
The Pop C9 heads into phablet territory with a 5.5-inch display, but the specs are more modest. Inside there’s a 1.3GHz quad-core processor with 1GB of RAM. The display is qHD at a resolution of 540 x 960 pixels. There’s also an 8-megapixel camera and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera. Internal storage is a disappointing 4GB, but you can stick a MicroSD card in there to boost it by up to 32GB. The 2,500mAh battery should keep it ticking all day long.
You’ll find the Pop C9 in a wide range of colors and we expect the price to be pretty low.
Alcatel One Touch Pop 7 and Pop 8 tablets
The small Android tablet market is incredibly competitive, but Alcatel feels it can add a little something with the Pop 7 and Pop 8 which will both run Android 4.2.
The Pop 7 has a 7-inch WSVGA display with a resolution of just 1024 x 600 pixels. There’s a 1.3GHz dual-core processor inside with 1GB of RAM. Internal storage is 4GB, but there is a microSD card slot for up to 32GB extra. There’s also a 2-megapixel main camera and a 0.3-megapixel front-facing camera.
The Pop 8 has the same 1.3GHz dual-core processor with 1GB of RAM. It also has the 2-megapixel main camera and the 0.3-megapixel front facing camera. Internal storage is also 4GB, but it can take MicroSD cards up to 64GB in size. The only other notable difference is the 8-inch display, which boasts a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels.
Both tablets come with a wide range of colorful magnetic flip covers and cases. Realistically, they will have to be jaw-droppingly cheap to make an impact in this segment.
Alcatel One Touch Idol X and Idol Mini come to Canada
Our last bit of news from Alcatel concerns the Canadian release of current flagship smartphones, the Idol X and the Idol Mini. They will both be available on Bell and Virgin Mobile Canada within the next couple of weeks.
The Idol X is impressively slim at 6.9mm. It has an older 1.5GHz quad-core processor, but otherwise the specs are very similar to the new Idol X+, with a 5-inch 1080p display, a 13-megapixel camera, and Android 4.2.
The Idol Mini has a 1.3GHz dual-core processor, a 4.3-inch display, and a 5-megapixel camera. It also runs Android 4.2 and it’s promised “at a very competitive price.”
If the price is right, Alcatel could make a real impact at the budget end of the market in 2014. We will keep you posted on availability and pricing for all of the above.