Alcatel One Touch announced its latest phablet idol 3  at MWC 2015 targeting young and music loving consumers looking for a great ultra-slim clever design, advanced multimedia experience on the go and sporting other premium hardware specs at a highly affordable and disruptive price-point.

Counterpoint Research team have been using and evaluating the 5.5″  phablet variant of the new idol 3 which was pre-launched in USA on 21st April and going on sale formally today i.e. April 27th 2015.

However, before we move on to our analysis on how the device is and how it fit into the competitive environment, lets understand Alcatel One Touch’s latest competitive positioning.

According to Counterpoint Research Market Monitor report, Alcatel One Touch at the end of  2014

  • Fifth largest mobile phone vendor globally in terms of shipments & share
  • Fourth Largest in Americas (North America & Central & Latin America)
  • Second Largest in overall mobile phone & smartphones in Central & Latin America
  • Fifth Largest overall in North America, whereas, smartphones volumes grew 240% YoY in 2014 – fastest growing brand in USA
  • One of the fastest growing smartphone brand globally with 122% growth YoY in 2014

Summing up, Alcatel One Touch is becoming a challenger brand to incumbents such as Samsung, LG & Motorola in Americas and taking away share from these brands at different price points. With idol 3, Alcatel One Touch is looking to position the device quite opposite to the traditional distribution channels as well as at a highly competitive price points.

We have analyzed idol 3 from traditional 4Ps infact 5Ps of marketing i.e. Product, Price, Place, Promotions & Pacakaging

Alcatel One Touch idol 3 Specs:

a. Hardware:

  • The idol 3 is an ultra-slim smartphone measure 7.4mm in thickness
  • Idol 3 comes in dual form-factor variants – sporting a 4.7” display and 5.5” display similar to Apple iPhone 6 series. The US variant which is being launched and evaluated by Counterpoint Analysts is a 5.5” phablet form-factor.
  • The 5.5” idol 3 sports a FULL HD (1920 x 1080) resolution with OGS multi-touch display offering a great viewing angle, high luminosity and sharpness with high pixel density (401 ppi). We have included some examples of text rendering which is quite sharp.
  • Alcatel One Touch idol 3 display integrates a Technicolor Color Enhance technology producing better color rendering outdoors in direct sunlight boosting the overall usability on the move. We tested the performance in the sunny Mumbai day and were impressed by the color reproduction in the sunlight
  • Alcatel One Touch has rose significantly on the smartphone design experience curve. The idol 3 feels great in the hand with a perfectly thin form-factor, higher screen-body ratio minimizing the bezels compared to other phablets e.g. iPhone 6 Plus
  • The idol 3 is the first phone to have an unique reversible feature where the interface adjusts to if the user picks up the device upside down or in the rightside-up direction. This is possible due to a highly symmetrical design again highlights Alcatel’s design focus centering around “better usabilitysolving sub-conscious user pain points
  • The idol 3 is powered by Qualcomm’s cutting edge Snapdragon 615 (MSM8939) system-on-chip with 64-bit architectureocta-core (1.5GHz quad core A53 & 1.0GHz quad-core A53 CPUs) perfect for a high-tier smartphone. Snapdragon 615 also integrates a Cat 4 LTE modem capable of download speeds up to 150 Mbps / 50Mbps for Uplink
  • The 5.5” Phablet packs in a 2GB RAM and 16GB internal storage (10GB usable) and external storage capacity support for up to 128GB microSD card
  • The best feature of idol 3 is it comes with a dual front facing JBL speakers and designed for optimal multimedia experience. We tested the speakers & audio quality its loud with premium equalizer setting and a companion music (DJ) app
  • Additionally, idol 3 features number of sensors (g-sensor, proximity, light, e-compass, GPS), Bluetooth v4.1 LE, NFC, Wi-Fi Display, Wi-Fi Direct  in addition to gestures and multiple multimedia codec support including H.265 & HD voice
  • The idol 3 comes packed with 2910 mAh battery which is great for a 7.4mm thick phone. The battery life is quite decent compared to iPhone 6 though not exceptional as was down to a third in 13 hrs with normal to heavy use. So estimated battery life of 15-16 hrs with normal-to-heavy use and more for light-to-normal usage.
  • Idol 3 is also integrated with a 13MP Auto Focus + LED Flash rear camera & 8MP front-facing camera with feature-rich user friendly camera app UI
  • The camera features plethora of features from 4x digital zoom, touch focus, manual focus, face, smile detection & face beautification, HDR mode to Panorama, Time-Lapse, QR code scanner and much more
  • We have put together some test pictures comparing with OnePlus One & iPhone 6 cameras.
  • Color reproduction is quite accurate compared to OnePlus One & iPhone 6. Though sharpness can be improved but still stands well against OnePlus but less than Apple

Set 1

Alcatel One Touch idol 3

idol 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Plus One

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apple iPhone 6

Photo 27-04-15 8 17 41 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Set 2

Alcatel One Touch

IMG_20150427_211657

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Plus One

OnePlus 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apple iPhone 6

iPhone 6 - 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

b) Software

  • The idol 3 comes with Android L (or Lollipop or 5.0.2) The latest firmware has been updated by Alcatel One Touch.
  • Since the device is unlocked, Alcatel One Touch can expedite the rollout of the next Android version update to the users
  • The UI in terms of iconography, layout on the idol 3 looks much toned down compared to Samsung Galaxy’s TouchWiz and much easy on eyes, clean though vibrant
  • The double drawer pull down offers a mice parallax effect between the settings & notification drawers but from interaction standpoint is confusing and takes multiple tries to interact with or select notifications or quick settings drawers and thus needs to be fixed

Screenshot_2015-04-27-20-35-35

Screenshot_2015-04-26-11-42-11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Screenshot_2015-04-26-12-16-12

Screenshot_2015-04-26-11-41-50

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Screenshot_2015-04-27-23-40-50

Photo 27-04-15 9 00 08 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Idol 3 comes preloaded with Facebook, Twitter, Flipboard, Evernote, AVG Antivirus, WPS Officesuite third party apps
  • Idol 3 also includes its “Mix” app for the idol 3 which is powered by JBL Audio which enhances the overall music experience with virtual DJ deck. It includes dual equalizer settings, auto or manual mixing, disc scratching , other preset audio mixes into the songs as well as BPM analysis. This is great for music-savvy young consumers

Screenshot_2015-04-27-20-07-49

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Screenshot_2015-04-27-20-07-34

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Screenshot_2015-04-27-20-05-25

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pricing

  • Alcatel One Touch is positioning itself way ahead in the “affordable premium” segment with the idol 3.
  • Alcatel One Touch idol is launching in US formally on April 27th at an attractive  and disruptive price point of US$249.99 through Alcatel One Touch’s US online store powered by Amazon
  • At this price point and specs it will directly compete against AT&T LG Vigor Silk, HTC Desire Eye, Moto X (2nd Gen) which are almost 38%, 87%, 118% costlier but almost similar or lesser in specs than idol 3, a great value proposition for American consumers
  • Similarly, idol 3 will also compete against the one year old OnePlus One which has been quite popular in USA selling through online channel in USA at a price point now of US$298

Place & Promotions

Alcatel’s go-to-market strategy with idol 3 in US is commendable by going online and unlocked (not locked to any carrier) considering they have almost gain footing along side ZTE to be the preferred no 3 vendor at multiple carriers.This offering allows consumers freedom to use the phone with compatibility on any of the nations largest to smallest GSM-LTE carriers i.e. tapping on the ongoing and encouraging BYOD trend at the carriers.

idol 3 is compatible with AT&T, T-Mobile, MetroPCS, Straight Talk, Walmart Family Mobile, Net10 & Regional Carriers. However, not including a CDMA-LTE variant reduces the total addressable market for the idol 3 down to almost 60% of the total US market.

In terms of promotions, we will have to see apart from online promotions and price exclusives at pre-orders how Alcatel One Touch promotes this phone to attract the younger demographics and price-to-value conscious consumers. Alcatel will have to stimulate the “online” and “unlocked” phone purchasing trend in USA with this attractive offering and take lead in this segment which accounts to roughly 3%-5% of the overall USA mobile phone sales.

Packaging

The package which we received the phone is beautiful with targeted messaging with every opening of flap highlighting key features, very innovating package marketing.We hope Alcatel keeps this messaging highlighted if the retail package differs from the one below:

About Author

Neil is a sought-after frequently-quoted Industry Analyst with a wide spectrum of rich multifunctional experience. He is a knowledgeable, adept, and accomplished strategist. In the last 11 years he has offered expert strategic advice that has been highly regarded across different industries especially in telecom. Prior to Counterpoint, Neil worked at Strategy Analytics as a Senior Analyst (Telecom). Neil also had an opportunity to work with Philips Electronics in multiple roles. He is also an IEEE Certified Wireless Professional with a Master of Science (Telecommunications & Business) from the University of Maryland, College Park, USA.