Alcatel’s New Windows Phone Provides Continuum and VR Experiences

Posted on November 1, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Windows Phones with 29 Comments

Alcatel's New Windows Phone Provides Continuum and VR Experiences

Alcatel announced today that its new flagship Windows phone, the IDOL 4S, will ship exclusively on T-Mobile in the U.S. next week, on November 10. The IDOL 4S features Windows 10 Mobile, of course, but it also includes support for Continuum and, get this, a bundled virtual reality headset.

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“The IDOL 4S with Windows 10 Mobile is the device Windows Mobile fans and enterprise smartphone users have been waiting for,” an Alcatel representative told me. “Featuring flagship specs and performance, including support for innovative Windows 10 Mobile experiences like Continuum, the IDOL 4S with Windows 10 puts PC-like productivity right in your pocket.”

As you’ll see in a moment, the IDOL 4S is a high-end handset, but the most interesting bit, perhaps, is the inclusion of the IDOL 4S VR Goggles, a virtual reality headset which, as Alcatel notes, brings a VR experience to Windows 10 Mobile for the first time.

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Beyond this unexpected new capability, the IDOL 4S is very much a high-end smartphone, with a 2.15 GHz Snapdragon 820 processor with Adreno 530 GPU, 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB of storage with microSD expansion, and a large 5.5-inch AMOLED 1080p screen. The rear-facing camera, at 21 MP and featuring a Sony IMX230 sensor, is potentially interesting, and there’s a Windows Hello-compatible fingerprint reader on the back of the device.

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From a fit and finish perspective, the IDOL 4S features an all-glass body and what Alcatel calls a halo gold metallic frame for a premium look and feel.

The Alcatel IDOL 4S will set you back $470, which is a lot more reasonable than most premium smartphones, especially when you consider that the VR Goggles are included.

You can find out more about the IDOL 4S on the Alcatel web site. I can’t believe I’m writing this, but it’s a great looking phone. And for whatever it’s worth, there is an Android version as well.

 

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Comments (29)

29 responses to “Alcatel’s New Windows Phone Provides Continuum and VR Experiences”

  1. 1139

    Wait. What? Where's the bashing, Paul? No calling out Alcatel for making a Windows phone? No snarky comments about sales volume projections? Strange.

  2. 473

    Hurrah some new Windows 10 mobile devices!

  3. 2525

    If the android bridge was still a thing then this would be a genuinely useful  device. Continuum with apps,plus horsepower and a decent camera.

    It's not for me, nor for many anymore, but it's a good consumer alternative to the hp phone for the fans . 

    Really curious what sort of vr stuff you can do with it in win 10 versus the android version. 

    Paul, are you planning on getting your hands on both variants? A comparison review and article woild be a useful for many here and I'd find it interesting . Thanks

    • 3884

      In reply to IanYates82:

      Agreed - it's a real shame they ditched the Android bridge - having their own Android app store ala Amazon would have been a useful idea - and potentially allowed them to keep what market share they had during their transition rather than allow it to fall through the floor.

      It wasn't going to be a magic bullet - but it would have been a useful risk to take. I mean, everyone's still ignoring W10M anyway so why not give it a shot and see what happens...

  4. 206

    Well, I'm buying it.  Looks like a great phone.  

  5. 217

    I wonder what the VR experience is exactly....???

  6. 2175

    "And for whatever it’s worth, there is an Android version as well"

    For what it's worth, I would definitely choose the Android version. And I was a long time windows phone fan until very recently

    I've just been switched over to a Galaxy S5 for my job. It is SO much nicer using Android over Windows Phone

    Android seems closer to emulating the PC version of Windows, than windows phone. The customization is much more flexible with Android. I've customized the lock screen, the OS keyboard, home launcher, and icon sets. I thought I'd miss the Live Tiles until I began using widgets. But I've found I really don't need 'at a glance' updates as much as I thought I would, so I don't use that many widgets. Looking back, I didn't really use Live Tiles on windows phone either. I'd always get the info I needed from the Action Centre notification, or, I'd open the app anyway as the Live Tiles don't always show the full info you want

    And the apps. On windows phone my bank's "app" was basically a launcher for the website. On Android, it's a proper app - faster, better layout, better options. It's vastly superior. And this goes for all of the major apps

     

    • 5530

      In reply to jamiet:

      "I've customized the lock screen" aren't third party lockscreens on Android a security risk? Anyone can bypass them by booting the phone into safe mode. It's why I have pretty much left mine intact. There are no real lockscreen replacements on Android other than what your OEM does to it. The only real customizations on Android I use and like are the launcher and keyboards.

      • 2175

        In reply to FalseAgent:

        Hmmm.. I had a weird lock screen incident today. I/m using Next Lockscreen from Microsoft, with a PIN. I also have the system lockscreen setup with a PATTERN. This morning whilst listening to music, the Next Lockscreen never kicked in, only the system lockscreen. I've experienced similar quirks with different lock screen options

        One thing about Windows Phone - this NEVER happened. It definitely feels like Android is less secure than windows phone. It's a shame because I've found Android to be really good (as per my post above)

         

  7. 593

    The only thing holding me back from this device is the screen size, it's too small for me. That and tmo exclusivity. I'm honestly surprised this isn't an at&t exclusive.

  8. 5530

    The Android version of this is actually a very nice phone that has been in the market for a while with good reviews, so this is decent hardware at a good price for the Windows phone ecosystem. But I am almost certain that Windows mobile will crash and run into numerous bugs somehow.

  9. 5486

    I love the announcement - “The IDOL 4S with Windows 10 Mobile is the device Windows Mobile fans and enterprise smartphone users have been waiting for". Um, I can guarantee most have never heard of it, and they certainly won't be lining up to buy it. This also means not for sale outside the US and exclusive to one operator. If that's not a death note I don't know what is.

  10. 3216

    Given that there seems to be no clear path forward for Win10 Mobile, this may be too little too late.  The concept of a phone that can be docked to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse is good.  But it still does not address the issue of the two giant Gorillas (Apple and Android) sitting in the corner laughing that they have more 50 times more apps than Microsoft does.

  11. 5234

    "the inclusion of the IDOL 4S VR Goggles, a virtual reality headset which, as Alcatel notes, brings a VR experience to Windows 10 Mobile for the first time."

     

    This sums up my sentiment on this:

    https://www.youtube.com/v/kN_Uevt3Glc?start=5&end=11.5&autoplay=1

    • 5539

      In reply to Waethorn:  Not sure how this brings VR to Windows 10 Mobile for the first time. There are VR apps in the store and you can stuff the phone into any VR glasses/goggles/frames. All they are is two lenses directing each eye at a different picture of the same thing. It it's most basic, it's a ViewMaster.

       

  12. 5554

    Phone on a buggy platform with no apps that MS has already abandoned, you really have to wonder what Alcatel is thinking here. 

  13. 5842

    Why did Alcatel release this phone? Didn't they know that any decent person has an obligation to mock windows phones and insult windows phone users?

  14. 7102

    I suppose its the same reference design from TCL that are also on the new BlackBerry DTEK60. Buts its ok the price is fine for a top end device. And not as big as the HP Elite X3. 

  15. 3272

    it's a shame it's T-Mobile only. Still some users that could use another option on other carriers.

  16. 5510

    Alca...what? Windows Mobile has VR Apps?

     

  17. 289

    Looks good.  One small nitpick would be the lack of NFC to support the new Microsoft Wallet.  Yeah, QHD would be nice- especially for use with the VR headset- but I'll look on the upside and note that FHD will mean better battery life.

  18. 5496

    The VR goggles are maybe $200-$300. So the phone cost about $200-$300 only.

  19. 1792

    Very smart. Looks nice. I wonder if this is the counterpoint to the Lumia firesale. Now Microsoft is out of consumer phones the OEMs feel they can step up to grab that 0.7% market share!

     

     

  20. 3884

    It's a really good looking phone - a shame there's no international release even rumoured, let alone confirmed. I'm intrigued at the VR angle also - are Alcatel going this alone or is Microsoft in on this as part of their new VR/AR push over the next year?

    A shame the screen is "only" 1080p, but everything else makes this sound like a pretty capable device. Still, I'm sticking with my 950 for a while longer - no idea what the Surface team will show off next year - or what HP will release as an update to the x3 so figure it's worth waiting to see what happens before figuring out my next move.

    I really fancy picking up a cheap VR container for my phones though - anyone recommend any good apps for Windows 10 Mobile?

  21. 5553

    My .GOVPhone is an Alcatel. LOL

  22. 920

    This looks like a good contender to replace my Lumia 1520 if it ever craps out.  The only restriction is if it doesn't have all the ATT radios (such as ATT's LTE bands).

    You can buy it from T-mobile without service.  And Expansys USA should get their hands on some.

  23. 5639

    Only reason those kids are smiling is because they got paid to hold that phone. 

     

    Want to check out a windows phone .....

     

    look well give you 20 bucks each.

     

    Hey look this thing says Iphone 7+ in jet black with 256g storage is finally in stock at that local apple store.  

     

    Thanks for the phone bud!

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