Hands On With Alcatel’s Pixi 3, Pop 10, and Amazing Buddy

7 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Alcatel OneTouch POP Family Of Smartphones And Tablet.

LAS VEGAS—Alcatel OneTouch really has some tricks up its sleeve. Mobile phone maker Alcatel OneTouch has made its first move into the wearable technology market with the launch of a low-cost smartwatch that is compatible with both Android and iOS smartphones.Alcatel Onetouch announced the third generation of its Pixi line of smartphones a few days ago and offered up the intriguing possibility of a phone that could run three different operating systems.

– Hillcrest’s Freespace® MotionEngine™ Software Enables “Always On” Health and Fitness Tracking, Context Awareness and Gesture Controls for ALCATEL ONETOUCH’s WATCH – Specifically, Hillcrest’s Freespace MotionEngine™ software powers a sensor hub that provides always on context awareness, activity tracking and intuitive gesture recognition functionality.Alcatel OneTouch might not necessarily be a brand you think of when you want to get a new smartphone or tablet, but it seems that with CES 2015, the company appears to be making quite a big push with a handful of new phones and a tablet as part of its POP 2 and POP family.We’ve seen some smartphones and a smartwatch from Alcatel already at this year’s CES, but that’s not all the Chinese manufacturer has to show off.

Here at CES, the company showed the only phone I’ve ever seen to run three OSes on the same hardware, a new 10-inch tablet, and a really nifty phablet remote control. Designed to look and feel like a traditional watch, the Alcatel OneTouch Watch has a circular face and employs materials such as brushed chrome, micro-textured resin bands and white stainless steel. Now we’ve gotten a chance to check out the new Pixi family and unfortunately got some bad news — users won’t be able to boot between Android, Firefox OS, and Windows Phone. Hillcrest’s software extends the battery life with context aware power savings, simplifies the user experience, and enables users to effortlessly track their daily fitness-related activities, such as walking and running.

It comes in a selection of styles – including sporty dark red or volcano black, feminine all-white, classic chrome or dark gray, and elegant metal-white – and is designed to appeal to both men and women. “It’s called a wearable, so we wanted to make something that would be a pleasure to wear,” said Alcatel OneTouch’s chief marketing officer Dan Dery. “The watch face and the band are slim, like a regular watch, but it has the multi-functionality of a smartwatch.” The Watch is packed with sensors, including a heart-rate monitor embedded discretely on the underside of the watch face, and an accelerometer, gyroscope, altimeter and e-compass. It will feature a 10-inch IPS display and will be voice-call-enabled, so users who want to make phone calls from the tablet can do so if that’s what they choose. That unfortunate omission means there isn’t a whole for the Pixi family to hang their hat on, at least for those of us used to huge and powerful smartphones. Alcatel described these phones as their most entry-level devices, and it shows — they’re thick, not very pleasant to hold, and have no discernible standout hardware features. Under the hood, the POP 10 will be powered by a quad-core GPU with 8GB of storage, a 5MP rear-facing camera, a 2MP front-facing camera, 4G LTE Cat 4 connectivity, but Alcatel OneTouch did not mention which version of Android it would be running on.

The phones have a Nokia feel to them, with wraparound plastic covers in eight colors, and they’re one of Alcatel’s operator-customizable lines, coming in screen sizes from 3.5 to 5 inches, with or without LTE, and either Qualcomm or Mediatek processors depending on whether or not they have LTE. When the smartwatch is connected to a smartphone it sends users call notifications and social media updates, and vibrates if users stray too far from their phones. The 3.5-inch model has the same screen resolution of the iPhone 3GS, which was released back in 2009, the 4-inch model comes in at 800 x 480, and the 4.5- and 5-inch models feature 854 x 400 screens. Moving on to the POP 2 family of smartphones, there are a trio of smartphones in this lineup that range from display sizes at 4-inches, and goes up to 5-inches.

Touching the Watch’s screen activates a multimedia remote control, allowing users to control music, take pictures from their phone from a distance, or make their phone ring in order to locate it. That’s a far cry from the 720p and 1080p screens that’ve become commonplace, and the relatively low resolution isn’t the only problem with these displays. Hillcrest has a commanding worldwide intellectual property portfolio that includes over 110 granted out of over 220 total filed patents exclusively owned by Hillcrest Labs.

This includes patents which are critical to the orientation compensation, automatic calibration and intelligent motion stabilization features that ensure motion control technology is simple and intuitive to use. Of course, these phones aren’t meant to compare with the Nexus 6 or Moto X — they’re meant to be incredibly low-cost devices that help bring connected smartphones to more and more people. The company also unveiled a new range of smartphones at CES, known as the Pixi 3 series, offering both 3G and 4G connectivity and a choice of three operating systems – Firefox, Android or Windows. The accessories don’t end there because Alcatel offers OneTouch Link to sync your smartphone and tablet, and OneTouch Connect, which is apparently a Bluetooth-enabled phone for answering calls and reading emails. The tablet is part of the POP family which includes the Alcatel POP 2 smartphones, announced back in September last year, but just released last month.

I’d probably still recommend a Moto E over the Pixi series, but these could still be viable options for anyone looking for a dirt-cheap, unlocked smartphone with LTE on board. Companies that have licensed or use Hillcrest’s motion technology include: ALCATEL ONETOUCH, Atmel, Coolpad, Eastman Kodak, Hisense, Intel, Lenovo, LG Electronics, Logitech, Oppo, Roku, Skyworth, SMK Electronics, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., TCL Multimedia, Universal Electronics (UEI), and more. They all have 1.2GHz quad-core processors, but the 5-inch variety has an 8MP camera and Android Lollipop, whereas the other two run Android 4.4 and sport 5-megapixel cameras. Hillcrest has received numerous awards and recognitions including the prestigious CES Innovations Honoree Award multiple times, IMS Research’s TV Innovation Awards, EE Times’ ACE Award, PC World’s 100 Best Products and Greatest Tech Designs, Popular Mechanics’ Editors Choice, ECN’s Reader’s Choice Tech, and many others. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/hillcrest-labs-powers-alcatel-onetouchs-smartwatch-with-advanced-sensor-hub-for-context-awareness-and-activity-tracking-300016024.html

The Alcatel gadget that most interested me, though, was the cool little Buddy 2 remote, which is a secondary Bluetooth controller for an Android phone, most likely for a phablet. It can work (paired with a phone’s Android app) as a Bluetooth handset, a music controller, an office app remote control, or a remote display and shutter button for a camera. It’s unclear whether the company intends to sell the Buddy 2 as a standalone product or whether it’s going to come with an upcoming phablet, but it’s a useful little device.

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