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CeBIT 2006. TCL Mobile Alcatel absence of general strategy

Almost two years ago, TCT (TCL Communication Technology, which includes TCL Mobile as a division) - a major manufacturer, representing the Chinese market of handsets, and Alcatel announced creation of a joint venture. However the newly formed company was officially introduced only in October, 2004. Though starting from that moment and by now, the company has experienced problems with sales of handsets under both its own brand and Alcatels one. The explanation lies in the fact that there is neither general strategy nor devices, which would combine advantages of TCL Mobile and Alcatel, available at present, nevertheless the company has a general concept: European Quality at Chinese Value.

Absence of strategy and comprehension of further essential steps that should be taken on the European market, are clearly demonstrated at CeBIT. The booths in the main mobile exhibition hall (number 26) featured handsets released under Alcatel brand, as well as TCL, therefore the visitors were led astray. In the first hall we called at another TCL booth, which was devoted to telecommunication products for the Asian market, and even here we encountered Alcatel handsets.

All new Alcatel phones were officially announced and introduced a month ago at 3GSM Congress in Barcelone a comprehensive report can be found here. And here, the company didnt demonstrate any new models having shown some new TCL models, standing next to Alcatel handsets, the company, most likely wanted to declare its capabilities and potential, and display technologies that can be adopted by Alcatel models in the near future. Lets take a closer look at them.

TCL GE06-1. A clamshell, possessing rather high functionality it features microSD extension slot, a high-quality screen, 2 Mpix camera and media players control buttons located under the display. We didnt manage to reveal any additional specifications, (neither the press-release, nor booth men could share this information with us), moreover scanty tables, standing near the models, were filled in with several mistakes (for example they specified a 1.3 Mpix camera, while the models shell features the number of 2 Mpix). On the whole the device doesnt surprise with anything special, including the design its a pure TCL Mobile model without any traces of Alcatel.

TCL GE17-1 GE09. Both handsets are positioned as communicators, aimed at replacing PDA, though the only parameter, linking them with communicators and PDA is a touchsceen. The model is powered by a self-developed operating system. Devices like these are popular in Asia, but in Europe they wont stand the competition. One more noteworthy thing is minor thickness of model GE09. All further information on the devices is unavailable, so you can just examine the pictures.

TCL GE02. Another slider, featuring a relatively qualitative display (for Alcatel). Considerable size, especially the thickness and average performance make the model uninteresting. Of course, there are no exact or approximate specifications of the device available.

TCL GD85-1. This clamshell is remarkable due to the fact it copies the design of previous generations devices by Samsung (though this design is not in nowadays, as well as silvery color, actually). Take a look at the pictures and everything will become plain and clear.

General conclusion hasnt changed since 3GSM Congress. 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.

P.S. As the press-release, distributed at CeBIT 2006 implies, following the theme fashion line-ups of mobile phones, like ELLE Collection and LIQUID Collection, in the immediate future the company is going to introduce joint collections in cooperation with other world-wide famous brands.

Anton Kotov (anton.kotov@mobile-review.com)
Translated by Oleg Kononosov (oleg.kononosov@mobile-review.com)

Published — 14 March 2006

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