back to article Alcatel wants to be Android, but different – and another crack at the Windows market

Alcatel, a brand of Hong Kong-based TCL Communication, has announced the A5 LED at Mobile World Congress, which it claims is "the world’s first interactive LED-covered smartphone." Before you quip "and there's a reason for that", have some sympathy for the plight of Android vendors struggling to differentiate their brands. …

  1. frank ly Silver badge

    "energetic young consumers",

    = Children?

    1. inmypjs Silver badge

      Re: "energetic young consumers",

      "= Children?"

      I was going to say wankers.

      1. Ogi

        Re: "energetic young consumers",

        > I was going to say wankers.

        Seems the more obvious choice. Some of their techniques can be very energetic, especially after many years of practice :-) .

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "energetic young consumers",

        I was going to say wankers.

        You owe me a new keyboard! But more seriously, the target market is this girl. I can't think of a better phone for light-up-shoe-wearing ravers.

  2. tiggity Silver badge


    "have some sympathy for the plight of Android vendors struggling to differentiate their brands"

    How about committing to providing updates (and quickly) and not stopping providing updates after a paltry few months, but keep updates / security fixes going for several years (not everyone changes phone every 2 years!).

    .. and not installing a shed load of (without rooting) uninstallable junk.

    .. I don't want branding / your "curated" apps, I want a vanilla phone with bare minimum installed & I'll customize it myself thanks!

    As someone who wants a phone with SD card (glares angrily at Google as their phones have no SD card but updates are OKish) and removeable battery, you would get my cash if those and the points above were met.

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: Differentiation

      Or even shipping your new phone with the latest version of Android. (Android 7 only came out 6 months ago.)

      1. psychonaut

        Re: Differentiation

        i couldnt agree more.

        removable battery , sd slot, 5.5" ish screen, waterproof, very good camera, vanilla android, keep it updated.

        thats it. basically its a waterproof note 4 with a better camera (particularly in low light). ive been due an upgrade for a while but i cant find anything to fit the bill (suggestions appreciated)

        stop putting fucking leds on the back and just learn the lessons of shit that doesnt work and fix it. this applies to tv manufacturers as well. stop making it shiny. make it boring, but make it work.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          You guys are not listing what average people want

          The typical phone buyer could care less about getting the latest version of Android (they don't even know what that would be) nor do they care about updates. Maybe they will when we eventually see a major malware problem that gets into the public consciousness the way Windows malware like I.Love.You and Code Red did, but that hasn't happened yet.

          They generally don't care about a removable battery either. Probably waterproof is the only thing I saw listed that the majority of people care about, i.e. those who have killed a previous phone with water.

          It is hilarious to read all the people on tech sites complaining about wanting vanilla Android, latest version, quick updates and so on, or ruling out a phone because it is on last year's leading edge SoC instead of this year's. Do you guys not realize that techies are a niche market? OEMs want to make a phone that will appeal to the broad base, not a niche. If they threw in every feature some niche contingent wants, then it'll cost a lot to make and you'll say "but but but...the one plus has almost the same feature set for half the price".

          1. psychonaut

            Re: You guys are not listing what average people want

            DougS...sadly, you are right,.

    2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Re: Differentiation

      How about committing to providing updates (and quickly) and not stopping providing updates after a paltry few months

      Sounds fine in principle but the trouble with Android is it's all or nothing. Budget handset makers often choose the minimum they can get away with for what they are delivered with and they often don't fare well with an update which is expecting more capable hardware.

      It's a tough one; live with the risk of security holes or accept a slower and less responsive phone.

    3. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

      Re: Differentiation

      "(not everyone changes phone every 2 years!)"

      But the ones that do buy more phones than the ones that don't. The rest is economics. You'll go out of business trying to sell a good product to careful customers.

  3. Whitter

    "... Android vendors struggling to differentiate their brands..."

    They struggle because they add so little value themselves*: who's fault is that and why should we pity them for their failings?

    *One might even argue that most remove value rather than add it.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: "... Android vendors struggling to differentiate their brands..."

      If they don't differentiate then they have to compete solely on price, and there's no profit to be made then. Of course, aside from Samsung none of them are making any profit now, but they keep hoping if they can hit the right goofy feature like modularity or LED lights on the back that they'll be the next Samsung. The problem is that Samsung got there by outspending everyone else (including Apple) by billions of dollars per year in advertising. Companies like HTC and Alcatel can't afford that sort of investment, so they are hoping to create "organic" buzz / word of mouth, I guess.

  4. kain preacher Silver badge

    I have a Samsung galaxy and and so far it mostly does what I need. After 12 months I'm still getting up dates. Has removable batter and sd card. Only draw back is now they are pushing preview of apps I might want to install. If they got rid of that and allowed me to remove the bloat ware it would be perfect.

    1. Will code

      "...has removable batter..."

      A feature every phone should have, especially near to pancake day. Apple and Google take note, I refuse to buy another phone with soldered on batter.

      Please don't correct the typo, made me chuckle more than it should :)

      1. kain preacher Silver badge

        I saw it to late to correct the typos. Every once in awhile my typos come out more funnier then the original post. Like when cray released a knew supper computer and I said will it bun crisis.

  5. StripeyMiata

    O2 did the LED thing 10 years ago with the Cocoon

  6. JustNiz

    ...because that wont totally drain your battery in a very few minutes, honest.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Crap, I could build one of those with a tight-pitch LED panel and a light-difusing plastic shell with a bit of microcontroller goodness to run it and a li-po to keep it from bothering the host device. But, yeah, looks like a silly batter waster. Here's me trying to purchase one at the mobile shop:

      "Excuse me, lad. I'm an 'energetic young consumer' and wish to purchase the wacky LED phone."

      "BEAT IT, POPS!! This is only for cool kids®, not oldsters℠!"


      And now for something completely the same:


      'Windows 10 Mobile is not quite dead then'

      "I'm feeling better! I feel happy! I'm... *thud*" -- Win10mobile

      "There you are! See you next week."

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "looks like a silly batter waster"

        That sounds like yet another euphemism for male-oriented "grumble" material if you ask me.

  7. HighTension

    Had a couple of Alcatel "soap bar" style feature phones

    IMHO they were really nice. Simple interface, great voice quality, no bother at all. They were emergency burners for DR/BCP, and we never had a problem when we handed them out.

    The orange-coloured display made them really nice at night too.

    I think they were almost a part of Lucent back then though...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Had a couple of Alcatel "soap bar" style feature phones

      Alcatel merged with Lucent around ten years ago to form Alcatel-Lucent, but that got bought by Nokia around a year ago.

      The "Alcatel" mobile phones were originally a joint venture with TCL, before Alcatel handed the entire thing over, so it's really just TCL using the name under license now.

  8. jelabarre59 Silver badge


    Why does that arrangement of LEDs look like it's giving you the finger?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "TCL has licensed the BlackBerry brand for mobiles"

    Technically, they (TCL) are using the Alcatel brand under license as well. The original company- or rather Alcatel-Lucent as it became- is still going, but the Alcatel mobile phones unit started out as a joint venture with TCL, presumably before Alcatel realised there was more money in their main infrastructure business than zero-margin Android phones and offloaded the whole thing to TCL.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "TCL has licensed the BlackBerry brand for mobiles"

      My bad, apparently Alcatel-Lucent was sold to Nokia around a year back.

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