Okay, I will admit it from the beginning of this article – Samsung, HTC, LG, Sony and Apple are never going to sell a flagship phone for under $300…you can double that and then add some more. What we are talking about is the new wave of Chinese smartphones that are starting to invade our shores – like the vendor Alcatel OneTouch – that believe that a 'flagship' doesn't need to cost over $300. Steve Cistulli, senior vice president for the North America region described the proper description of a flagship as, "It's all of the right technology at a great price for the masses."
Many of you have never heard of Alcatel OneTouch and that is understandable – unless you purchase prepaids and use AT&T or T-Mobile you may not have seen the brand. Just this week, Boost Mobile announced two new OneTouch models – the Conquest for $129.99 and the Elevate for $99.99, however, Alcatel hopes to change all of that soon as Cistulli has plans to introduce smartphones that will work on all major carriers. While the devices may not be in the carrier's showrooms, he expects their direct sales approach will increase over the next few years, as "momentum will pick up in an exponential way," and expects that by 2018, direct sales will be OneTouch's primary source of revenue in the US.
Could this be the proper time to introduce such low-cost devices as carriers start to separate the cost of the phone and plan? For years, when we purchase a subsidized device, we were happy to fork over $150 – $200 for a $700 smartphone…thinking what a bargain we got. However, with the new Verizon's Edge, AT&T's Next, T-Mobile's Simple Choice, and Sprints' Easy Pay plans, the price of the device is no longer bundled in, and this is causing customers to think twice about paying $700, even on payments. As buyers start to look for a bargain, Alcatel OneTouch, and others like them, believe they can start to draw our attention to their flagship devices.
The OneTouch Idol 3 sports a 5.5-inch LCD FHD display and uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 610 octa-core processor clocked at 1.5GHz. It comes with 2GB of RAM and either 16GB or 32GB of storage that is expandable via a microSD slot. It has a good 13MP sensor for the main camera and a huge 8MP front-facing camera (FFC) for selfies and video chatting. They even packed in front-facing stereo speakers, along with an FM Radio, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, NFC and a microUSB port for charging and data transfer. A non-removable 2910mAh battery provides power…all for only $249! There comes a time for the majority of smartphone buyers when you have to ask yourself if a QHD, slightly faster processor and a flagship camera are really worth three times as much on the LG G4 or Samsung Galaxy S6. This is where the new description of 'flagship' may begin to make sense.