There's more than what's usually visible in the Windows Phone universe. When we talk about Windows Phones these days, we always talk about Samsung, HTC, Nokia, and sometimes Huawei. But if you remember, there was another name briefly manifested in our sight, only to disappear quietly later: Alcatel.
Back in last December we reported a low cost Windows Phone called Alcatel One. Since then there hasn't been much update about this very device. Until today, as it's suddenly available in China, through locally popular e-commerce website 360buy.com, and under the brand "TCL" (Alcatel's joint-venture partner in China).
The device is listed a "TCL S606" on 360buy.com. As we've reported before, it sports a rather humble specs sheet: single core 1.0GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage (NOT supporting storage cards), 4" 800x480 touchscreen, 5 megapixel for the main camera and VGA resolution for the front-facing one. And the underlying OS is Windows Phone 7.5 as a matter of course.
What's more, this phone doesn't have the dedicated camera shutter button required by Microsoft. Users will have to rely on the touchscreen for picture snapping, and one less way of waking the phone up. This is a curious decision from the designer team. Phone makers these days generally see a dedicated camera button as a good idea, and removing that plastic button doesn't seem to save a whole lot of production cost. Why break Microsoft's well unified user experience for what looks like nothing then?
"Cheap" is the keyword for TCL S606 / Alcatel One here. On 360buy it's priced CNY 799 (US$ 130), and for that price you get a free movie ticket for Iron Man 3. For comparison, Nokia's dated Lumia 610 costs CNY 698, and Lumia 620 CNY 1288 on the same website, without movie tickets of course.
What do you feel about the device? Lingering presence of a past era? Or a much needed low cost market tier for the Windows Phone universe today?