British carrier O2 is in the process of being bought by another British carrier, Three (on a technicality, by Three's parent company). This may lead to the two networks being merged at some point in the coming twelve to eighteen months. If and when this happens, it should be beneficial for customers of both carriers: O2 has a more extensive 4G LTE network than Three, whereas Three's 3G HSPA network is less stressed than O2's 3G network. Despite this business activity, O2's purchasing and handset teams are carrying with "business as usual" and have just announced that the carrier is selling the budget Alcatel OneTouch Pixi 3 (4) Android-powered smartphone for £34.99 on Pay As You Go.
The Pixi 3 (4) was originally launched back in January and is very similar to the Vodafone Smart first 6 device, offering entry level hardware but with a very low price tag. For your money, which is less than many flagship customers pay per month for their Galaxy S6 or HTC One M9, the OneTouch Pixi 3 (4) gives customers a basic Android 4.4 Kit Kat device powered by a 1.0 GHz dual core MediaTek processor backed up by 512 MB of RAM. There's 4 GB of onboard storage, which is backed up by a MicroSD card slot for cards of up to 32 GB capacity. The screen is a 4.0-inch, WVGA panel or 480 by 800 pixels and the Pixi 3 is kept alive by a 1,400 mAh rechargeable battery. In the context of modern flagship devices, or for that matter by mid-range devices, the Pixi 3 (4) has a much smaller battery, but there's considerably less to power.
Wireless communication is provided by 3G radio – there's no 4G LTE technology here, but for the money this is no surprise. Naturally, there's WiFi and Bluetooth, and Alcatel have given the Pixi 3 Bluetooth 4 so the device benefits from low power short range wireless technology. Around the back there's a 2MP rear camera but there's no front facing camera, again given the price this is perhaps no surprise. O2 have sold a number of budget Alcatel Android smartphones over the years and the Pixi 3 (4) is the cheapest and highest specification model yet. Although the device is not going to set the world alight, for customers seeking a no-frills, simple smartphone, perhaps because they need to be able to keep up with their email on the move, the Pixi 3 (4) might fit the bill. However, the Pixi 3 (4) isn't designed for those of us who are Android-experienced, unless it is serving as an emergency 'phone.