Verizon subscribers may now purchase handsets manufactured by TCL from the carrier's stores, and online outlets, after the smartphone maker and the service provider inked a carrier partnership deal.
The first handset that Verizon will sell as part of the carrier deal is the Alcatel AVALON V. The Alcatel AVALON V is an entry-level handset that costs $99, and despite its low price, the handset comes with a lengthy list of hardware and software features.
The Alcatel AVALON V ships with Android 8.1 Oreo pre-installed, which is unfortunately not the newest version of the Android operating system. On top of Android, and several applications from Google like the Google Assistant, the smartphone also comes pre-installed with several apps from Alcatel and Verizon.
The handset also comes with TCL's proprietary camera application, which includes features like built-in photo filters, Instant Collage, Time Lapse, and Panorama Mode. The camera app also comes with Google Lens functionality, which allows users to get more information and perform actions from images captured the phone's cameras. For example, Google Lens may help users identify plants or animals, search for similar outfits or items, and save a phone number.
In terms of hardware, the AVALON V ships with an entry-level chipset, the Snapdragon 425 SoC. However, like many mid-range and premium handsets, this device already ships with a 5.34-inch display with an aspect ratio of 18:9, although the screen itself has a relatively low resolution of 960 by 480 pixels. This panel is protected from scratches by a sheet of Dragontrail glass.
The device also contains a 5-megapixel rear camera, a 2-megapixel selfie shooter, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal flash storage, which users can expand using a microSD card with capacities of up to 32GB.
Despite the low price of the handset, the AVALON V still features LTE connectivity, and the smartphone supports the bands used by Verizon for its 4G network. The AVALON V also supports voice-over-WiFi (VoWiFi) functionality. Meanwhile, the 2,460mAh battery of the smartphone allows the device to offer usage times of up to 24 hours while connected to 4G networks.
Consumers may now purchase the AVALON V from Verizon's online store as well as the carrier's brick-and-mortar outlets. However, there is only one color option for the device, which is Suede Gray.
Aside from Alcatel, TCL Communications is also one of the tech firms that manufacture Blackberry-branded handsets. Verizon already sold BlackBerry devices before, specifically the BlackBerry KEY2 LE. However, when it launched on the company's stores, only the carrier's enterprise and small business customers can get a hold of the handset. There is a possibility that the new deal will result in more widespread availability of BlackBerry handsets, allowing additional customers to get a hold of the devices.
The establishment of partnerships between carriers and handset makers are essential for the latter to succeed in the United States. Another smartphone manufacturer, HMD Global, noted that it is challenging for companies to sell handsets without collaborating with service providers. In the case of TCL Communications, its devices, specifically the BlackBerry-branded ones, are already available in three major US carriers, while interested consumers may also purchase Alcatel-branded smartphones through MVNOs, like Cricket Wireless, for example.