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CES 2016 Trade Show: Day 2

by Ken Hyers | Jan 06, 2016

Analysts from our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) research service are at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) trade show this week in Las Vegas.

Our earlier CES 2016 pre-show and day 1 blog posts can be viewed here and here.

January 6th, Day 2 (officially day 1) is seeing new entries in the Windows 10 phone segment,and for Android, from two Chinese giants.

1.  TCL-Alcatel introduces the Fierce XL Windows 10 smartphone, an exclusive for T-Mobile in the USA market. Positioned as an affordable Win10 handset, the new device highlights the availability of Microsoft Office Mobile productivity applications like Word, Excel and PowerPoint, as well as the Cortana personal assistant, packed into a Quad-Core powered 5.5-inch HD display Cat 4 LTE device. With a 2500mAH battery the company promises up to 14 hours of talk time.

Alcatel Fierce XL:



Alcatel Fierce XL

The Alcatel Fierce XL chief claim to fame is an ultra-low price of $140 – and with a current rebate of $70 from MetroPCS (T-Mobile’s sub-brand) it’s just $70. While that price isn’t unheard of for a new phone, it’s a lot of value for a new 5.5” HD display smartphone, even if it comes with price-saving specs like an 8MP rear-facing camera and a 2MP front snapper.

2.  Like Microsoft’s own Lumia devices the Fierce XL comes in a bright polycarbonate case that is characteristic of the design language for Windows mobile phones. A welcome exception to this comes from Acer and its Liquid Jade Primo, another Windows 10 phone announced at CES. Unlike Microsoft’s own Lumia 950 and 950XL and the new Alcatel entry, Acer’s Liquid Jade Primo appears to have a much more premium finish and curves reminiscent of many high-end Android devices. As such its appearance will be more palatable to consumers more familiar to Android devices (or, put another way, for those less familiar with Windows devices, which currently have a global marketshare of just 2%).

Acer Liquid Jade Primo:
Acer Liquid Jade Primo

To complement its premium appearance the Liquid Jade Primo features a 21MP main camera, an 8MP rear camera, supports up to 4K video recording and a 5.5 inch HD AMOLED display. It also supports 4G LTE Cat 6 and 802.11ac MIMO for faster speeds. The Acer phone is positioned to slot in directly alongside Microsoft’s own Lumia 950 and 950 XL – and for those consumers looking for a high-end Windows 10 phone it’s arguably a more attractive choice. If you've been waiting for a premium Windows phone, this is most likely the one for you (at least until the much-rumored Surface Phone comes along later this year...).

3.  On the Android side of the equation mobile news for CES is being dominated by Chinese handset giants Huawei and ZTE (respectively 3rd and 7th largest smartphone vendors, globally, in our rankings). With Samsung and others saving their flagship Android phone announcements for MWC in Barcelona, the field has been left wide open for Chinese brands to introduce their offerings at CES.

From Huawei came the official international rollout announcement of the Mate 8, a 6-inch phablet most notable for using Huawei’s own Kirin 950 processor which some early reports say outperforms Qualcomm’s 810 and 808 and Apple’s A9 processors in early speed tests. Whether or not those speed claims hold up after more extensive testing, the new Huawei processor is indeed impressive, powering an attractive metal-clad phablet that shows definite design improvements and quality compared to its predecessors. Coming to Europe for 520 Euros to 620 Euros depending on amount of memory, Huawei’s new premium smartphone is neither cheap nor the most expensive phablet on the market, but is a very attractive and powerful alternative to some other flagship phones.

Huawei Mate 8:

Huawei Mate 8

From ZTE come two new smartphones, the Grand X3, a 5.5 inch phone that will go first to AT&T prepaid brand Cricket and the Avid Plus, a 5.0 inch handset which is headed to T-Mobile. At $130 for the Grand X3 and $115 for the Avid Plus, both devices are affordable, which makes sense given they’re squarely targeted at the prepaid segment which is ZTE’s bread and butter in the United States. ZTE’s strategy of focusing on the prepaid segment in the US has served it well, allowing it to climb into 4th place among smartphone vendors in the market and these two new devices will fit well in its portfolio leading into 2016.

Please check back here, every day, to our blog page from CES 2016.

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