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3GSM Congress. Alcatel presents new low-end models
Many had reconsidered their thoughts about the future of Alcatel devices after the company was sold to TCL Mobile. The users wanted the new owner to renovate the overall strategy of the division and also gladden them with some all-new devices. Unfortunately TCL Mobile lost interest in the European market shortly, as a result even the previously announced devices hadn't drawn proper attention, and the new ones got armed with three years old technologies. This means that the company is moving its products into a lower class as the platform they are based on gets older. In order to return to the middle-end share, they need fresh ideas and some innovative solutions, though they aren't any at present. The Russian representative poffice is doing its best at selling the already existing handsets; at the very least they are a small but still a success in this, although everything is moving towards the logical end and little by little the company is fading away from the market.
In the near future the top model of the current line-up, Alcatel S853, is going to be shipped to retail stores. If the price is around 200 dollars it could become a hit in this price bracket; though at present Alcatel is going to sell it at the price of 250 dollars and even higher; release date of the handset is March.
Those, who are checking our site on regular basis, may recall the very negative review of Elle 1 by Alcatel, so called GlamPhone, which was demonstrated at the exhibition. And the model featuring the serial number “two” is not for far from that one. This clamshell doesn't have an exterior display, though its design to some extent reminds of a sea shell, this can force one to recall PEBL of Motorola. The product obviously doesn't meet the requirements of the class it's positioned, though the marketing managers of the company can't realize this simple fact and continue undermining the very last loyalty to the brand.
The company uses only already proven solutions when it comes to the low-end share - Е 100 offers minimum of functionality, but an uncommon display with red inversion backlighting, however the features list ends right here. Model E105 is just like the above mentioned one and differs only in screen color (which is blue) and body color. The price for this device will be less than 45 dollars, though it will be still hard for these handsets to compete with the solutions of Motorola.
Though at least the company can generate some sales with the help of a low-end slider Alcatel E260, which has the price of 90 dollars. The model copies all functions of Е 256, but features a different form-factor. The body is made of a soft, velvety plastic, auto-completion mechanism is also on its place. The STN display is capable of reflecting up to 4096 colors, the other abilities of the device are rather poor as well.
A simpler design and the same filling got the label of Е 265, one more low-end slider actually.
Е 259 origins from E256 and offers a more expensive looks with the same electronics.
E801 was meant to be a successor of S853, however no samples are available at the moment – only a mockup. Taking into consideration how long the market had waited for the previous device, we should expect this one to be released in the next summer.
Attempts to vary the product line force the company to experiment with materials – that's the main reason why С 750 or “liquid metal” materialized. The device features an uncommon appearance, but is evenly matched to the known С 650 with only a few adjustments.
Alcatel 557 got renovated in the form of С 550, С 560, С 630. What are the advantages of these models over the previous except for the design is still unclear.
Short summary – the company isn't capable of introducing a new platform or completely innovative solutions. Unfortunately, Alcatel products are falling in price, though the set of functions remains the same. If this continues, the year of 2006 may become the last one for the company on the market of mobile devices and it will disappear in the crowd of other small manufacturers.
Published 15 February 2006
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