Alcatel unveiled five new phones last month, and today, it’s announcing that two of them are headed to the United States: the Alcatel 1X and the Alcatel 3V. Of the two, the 1X is the more exciting — it’s one of the very first phones to run Android Go, Google’s new streamlined version of Android designed to perform better on low-end hardware.
The 1X will sell for under $100 (I’m going to go ahead and guess that means $99.99, but Alcatel isn’t giving specifics), which puts it squarely in the budget phone arena. But for as cheap as the price is, the phone itself isn’t missing that many modern accommodations. It runs Oreo, it has a fingerprint sensor on the back, and it has a tall, 18:9 screen. It’s not a beautiful screen (it’s 5.3 inches, has a low 960 x 480px resolution, and feels recessed from the glass). But Alcatel says it’ll be the first phone in the US under $100 with an 18:9 aspect ratio, and that’s at least something.
Android Go is here to fix super cheap phones
I got a chance to use the 1X last month, and while it wasn’t necessarily impressive in any way, it’s still remarkable how much you can get for such a low price at this point. (My initial impressions of the phone were quite negative — the phone barely worked — but it turned out, the company had accidentally shown me a model with non-final software. I tried another model, and it worked fine.) The big question will be how much Android Go, and Google’s stripped-down Go apps, actually help the people who buy this phone and extend the device’s life.
Alcatel didn’t announce a release date for the 1X but said it would arrive in “the coming months.” It said the same thing about the 3V, without giving a price for that phone either. It’ll likely end up selling for around $200, since the European model sells for €180 (about $221 USD right now). The 3V is a much nicer phone with a surprisingly good display for its price, as well as dual rear cameras (that are much more on par for the price). It’ll be running the standard version of Android Oreo. Both phones will be unlocked GSM models, so they’ll work on AT&T and T-Mobile.