Monday, 5 January 2015

Alcatel announce their first Smartwatch

Alcatel, the phone manufacturer you probably know best from producing low end mobile phones over the last decade, has today taken a firm step in to the future. At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Alcatel announced the Onetouch Watch; a smartwatch running their own operating system.

The Onetouch Watch has a very familiar design similar to that of the Moto 360; it even has the strip running along the bottom of the watch face preventing the screen from being a perfect circle. The overall aesthetics of the watch are standard however it boasts a bright screen which Alcatel claims can last for two days without needing to be recharged. When you finally do need to recharge this device, it has a USB charger built into the interchangeable straps.

Both Android Phones (including Alcatel Onetouch family) and iPhones are compatible with the Onetouch Watch and, as expected, notifications can be sent to your watch so you are alerted when something new is happening on your phone. The watch can also be used without a smartphone because Alcatel has developed a small number of practical apps such as a stop watch and health monitor. In addition to that, there are a small number of customisable watch faces. Sadly, it isn't likely that many more apps and watch faces will become available anytime in the future because, despite the watch being cheap and trendy, it doesn't run a mainstream smartwatch interface such as Android Wear.

Having a small app ecosystem is a challenge that many independent smartwatch manufactures will have to figure a way around - unless they could jump on the Android Wear bandwagon.

Overall, the Onetouch Watch is a decent first smartwatch from Alcatel. Unfortunately, for every good thing about this device, there is almost certainly a counter negative. The watch will cost $149 (that's just under £100), which undercuts every Android Wear device currently on the market, however for that price you consequently sacrifice a strong app ecosystem and you need to put up with the uninspiring, Windows-like, operating system. It seems to be Alcatel device through and through; a decent low end device.