By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Las Vegas –TCL Communication, part of Chinese consumer electronics giant TCL Corp., is coming to International CES to build up its presence in the U.S. smartphone and tablet markets and expand its sales through tier-one wireless carriers.
TCL is one of multiple Chinese smartphone vendors, including Huawei and ZTE, aiming to build their U.S. market presence.
TCL, whose U.S. products bear the Alcatel One Touch brand, entered the U.S. cellphone market in 2007 by selling to regional carriers, then in October 2011 sold a phone to a national carrier – T-Mobile -- for the first time. In March 2012, it made an Android smartphone available through Virgin Mobile, Sprint’s prepaid brand.
Here at CES, the company is stepping up its portfolio of Alcatel One Touch smartphones and tablets for the U.S. market with the launch of Android smartphones with larger screens and faster CPUs, an expanded tablet lineup, and its first cellular-enabled tablets.
Alcatel One Touch is also unveiling its first U.S.-market 4G Wi-Fi hot spot, which is designed for home, car and mobile use.
Six new Android smartphones include the Idol Ultra with 4.65-inch HD display and Scribe HD with 5-inch HD display. The former is touted as the thinnest smartphone ever at 6.45mm (0.253 inches) in depth compared to the iPhone 5’s 0.3 inches, the Samsung S3’s 0.34 inches, Huawei’s PS 1’s 0.263 inches, and Motorola’s Droid Razr M’s 0.326 inches.
The Scribe HD Android 4.1 phone features 5-inch HD display and quad-core 1.2GHz processor.
The Idol Ultra features dual-core 1.2GHz processor, and the Scribe features quad-core 1.2GHz processor, whereas the company’s current U.S. lineup doesn’t include dual- or quad-core processors. The screen sizes in the company’s current lineup also max out at 4.3 inches.
The Idol Ultra feature Android 4.1 JellyBean OS, 4.65-inch HD Amoled display, 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 8-megapixel camera with LED flash, five-point capacitive multitouch capability, no memory-card slot, 850/1900MHz HSPA, and quad-band GSM. Additional details were unavailable.
The Scribe HD features Android 4.1 JellyBean OS, 5-inch HD IPS display, five-point capacitive multitouch capability, 8-megapixel rear camera with LED flash, front 720p HD camera, quad-core 1.2GHz processor, 1GB RAM, 32GB memory-card slot, quad-band GSM, and HSPA in the 850MHz and 1.7/2.1GHz AWS bands. It’s the first phone with MediaTek’s MT6589 quad-core chipset with high-performance multimedia support, the company said.
Four other Android smartphones feature Android 4.1 JellyBean OS, screen sizes from 3.5 to 4.5 inches, capacitive multitouch displays, quad-band GSM, and HSPA in the 850/1900/2100MHz bands. Three feature 1GHz CPUs, and the model with 4.5-inch display features dual-core 1GHz CPU. The 4.5-inch model also sports qHD-resolution display and five-point multitouch capability. The other three models feature HVGA or WVGA resolutions. All but one of the four models feature front-facing VGA camera, while one has no front camera.
Among five new U.S.-market tablets, the EVO7 and EVO7 HD are 7-inch Wi-Fi models that can be upgraded to HSPA+ 21Mbps or to LTE via a cellular module that can be inserted by the consumer. The Evo 7 features Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich OS, 1024x600-pixel TFT capacitive-multitouch display, 1GHz ARM Cortex A8 CPU, 1GB RAM, 4GB flash memory, micro USB port, microSD slot, front 0.3-megapixel camera, Bluetooth 2.1, and optional HSPA+21Mbps module.
The Evo 7 HD raises resolution to HD, the OS to Android 4.2 JellyBean, and the CPU to a dual-core 1.6GHz processor with quad-core GPU. The tablet also adds dual 2-megapixel cameras. The cellular options include both HSPA+21Mbps and LTE.
Like the Evo7, the Evo 7 HD features 1GB RAM, 3GN flash memory, microUSB port, micro SD slot, capacitive multitouch capability, and Bluetooth.
Third-quarter availability is planned for both models. Pricing and availability of the Evo 7 wasn’t available, but the Evo7 HD will be available in the third quarter in the U.S. at $179 for the Wi-Fi version, $249 with HSPA+ module, and $349 with LTE module.
Three other tablets feature WiFi, Android 4.1 OS, and capacitive multitouch displays and are due in the U.S. in the third quarter. Two are 7-inch models with dual-core 1.6GHz CPUs, and one is an 8-inch model. The 7-inch models are the Tab7 at an approximate $129 price and the Tab 7 HD with approximate $180 price. Both 7-inch models feature 1GB RAM, microUSB port, microSD slot, and front VGA camera, but the Tab 7 features 1024x600-pixel WSVGA TFT display, while the Tab 7 HD features 1280x800 WXGA display with IPS. The Tab 7 features 4GB flash memory, and the Tab 7HD features 8GB. The Tab 7HD adds a 2-megapixel rear camera.
The 8-inch tablet at an approximate $180 features dual-core 1.6GHz CPU. RAM and flash memory capacity were unavailable. It also features microUSB port, microSD slot, front VGA camera, 2-megapixel rear camera.
All five tablets feature Bluetooth.
The company’s first mobile hot spot is the due in the third quarter in the U.S. at $149.The One Touch Link W800 is described as a WiFi 4G LTE Internet key that can be plugged via its USB port in a laptop, portable battery, AC outlet at home, or car adapter for power.
The key, or dongle, that connects up to 10 Wi-Fi users to an LTE or HSPA+ 42Mbps cellular network. The portable, 5200mAh battery pack lasts up to 8 hours.
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