French smartphone company Alcatel has announced two new Android smartphones for CES 2019: The Alcatel 1X and Alcatel 1C.
Both devices are bargain priced, with the 1X starting at $120 USD and the Android Go-based 1C starting at €70 ($80 USD).
That doesn't mean either device is stripped of decent hardware: Both are built such that they, if their performance matches Alcatel's specifications, will replicate some high-end features smartphone users usually need to pay a premium for.
The Alcatel 1X: Highly desired camera features for less
The Alcatel 1X may only cost $120, but its camera features seem built to directly compete with Apple and Google's much more expensive depth-sensing and artificial intelligence (AI)-optimizing features.
The 1X comes equipped with two rear cameras: A 13MP main lens, and a 2MP depth sensing lense. The depth sensing lense gives the 1X the ability to capture bokeh-enhanced portraits in real time, and software that ships with the phone lets users touch up the background blur to get a better focus if the phone wasn't quite perfect.
Along with the cameras, the 1X also has a 5.5-inch 18x9 screen and 100-point facial recognition scanning.
SEE: BYOD (bring-your-own-device) policy (Tech Pro Research)
The Alcatel 1C: An Android Go smartphone minus the bulk
Alcatel said that its 1C represents a new bar in emerging market smartphone design: "The emerging market smartphone no longer means a bulky design and tiny display," Alcatel said in a press release, citing the 1C's 5-inch display.
The company didn't mention the "bulk" of the 1C, but the side-by-side shots of it with the 1X (see photo below) show a device that doesn't appear to be significantly thicker than the 1X.
The 1C comes loaded with all of Google's redesigned Go apps, including Files Go, Maps Go, YouTube Go, Gmail Go, and others.
US audiences won't have a chance to get the 1C, though: It's slated for release in emerging in Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe, but not North America.
New Alcatel phones: Who will want them?
Bargain-priced smartphones promising premium features is nothing new, and as is often the case, the performance doesn't always match the marketing.
Alcatel, which has licensed its name to China-based TCL Communications for the manufacture of its devices, may end up putting out a device, the 1X, that simply doesn't meet performance standards that US business users need. Devices like the iPhone XR already deliver similar features and are trusted by consumers, which could make it hard for Alcatel to capture market share from Apple.
Without a device to test it's hard to make a call as to whether or not the 1X will be a good bet for professionals (I've exempted the 1C from this since it's built for emerging markets). Luckily for those attending CES 2019, the 1X and 1C will both be available to demo at Alcatel's booth.
The big takeaways for tech leaders:
- French smartphone company Alcatel has released two new devices for CES: The Alcatel 1X and the Alcatel 1C, which is designed for emerging markets.
- The 1X promises a high-end camera performance for a bargain price, but consumers and professionals should be aware to try those features before deciding whether they work as well as those on higher-end devices.
- 5G smartphones: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)
- IT pro's guide to the evolution and impact of 5G technology (TechRepublic download)
- BYOD (bring-your-own-device) policy template download (Tech Pro Research)
- The 10 best smartphones of 2018 (ZDNet)
- Best mobile VPN services for 2018 (CNET)
- The 10 most important iPhone apps of all time (Download.com)
- Smartphones and mobile tech: More must-read coverage (TechRepublic on Flipboard)
Brandon Vigliarolo has nothing to disclose. He does not hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Brandon writes about apps and software for TechRepublic. He's an award-winning feature writer who previously worked as an IT professional and served as an MP in the US Army.