Alcatel One Touch is targeting the tablet market with plans to launch three new Android-powered tablets in the UK this autumn.
The manufacturer is also close to sealing a deal with network operator Three to range its products as it moves to broaden its distribution channels.
The new tablets will all run on Google’s Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich platform. All three devices will launch from the end of Q3 and be offered in a number of colours and designs. They also come with access to all Google’s features including the Google Play market.
Alcatel One Touch UK & Ireland country director William Paterson told Mobile the manufacturer was confident of carving out a share of the UK’s tablet market despite the dominance of Apple in the sector, but he admitted that understanding market demand was critical.
He said: ‘The opportunities are there if you can bring good value and a quality product to the market, but you need to set your expectations as to how many you will sell.’
Alcatel One Touch will also launch two new smartphones at the end of Q3 powered by the Android Ice Cream Sandwich operating system. The two new launches will come just weeks after the launch of the Alcatel One Touch Smart 916 on Virgin and the Alcatel One Touch 903.
The manufacturer’s products are currently ranged by Vodafone, Everything Everywhere, O2 and Virgin Media, as well as major retailers such as Carphone Warehouse, Phones 4u, Tesco, Asda and Argos.
The company is currently in talks with Three about ranging its products. Paterson said: ‘Three is the only major operator we aren’t with yet. However, I can say we are in good discussions with them.’
Alcatel One Touch, which is owned by Hong Kong-based TCL Communication, claims to be the fastest growing of the world’s top 10 mobile phone manufacturers. It specialises in bringing colourful, easy to use devices at budget prices to market. Paterson said: ‘Our core philosophy is to bring higher feature sets to new aggressively priced points – that has been our policy for the past 12 years.’
Alcatel is set to ship 1.5 million phones into the UK this year, up from 1.4 million in 2011 but still lower than the 1.6 million shipped in 2010.
Paterson attributed the latest shipment increases to rising smartphone sales in the prepay market.
He said: ‘Most of what we sell is on prepay, that is our core business and so that trend has lifted the market for us.’
He added: ‘We are still performing really well in a declining market. Shipments went down slightly since 2010 but that is a blip. We have grown dramatically since 2005 when we shipped just 95,000 [devices].’
Alcatel One Touch’s core customers are largely females aged between 16-24 years old. Paterson said they are attracted by ‘the level of flexibility of our products in terms of the design, the look, the feel and the finish’.
However, the company’s portfolio of devices is not limited to its core customers, argued Paterson.
‘Our plan is to continue to develop aspirational feature sets and to create products with added value, some which will be female oriented and some unifit,’ he added.
The senior market is also in its sights, with two recently launched feature phones – the Alcatel One Touch 282 and the Vodafone-branded VF 155 – specifically aimed at the senior market. Feature phones still make up a big part of Alcatel One Touch’s portfolio, despite the rise in smartphone sales. Paterson confirmed that six Alcatel One Touch feature phones will be launched over the next two quarters.
He explained: ‘Despite the whole industry only talking about smartphones, we believe there is still a market for feature phones. Not everyone wants loads of data. Some people still only want talk and text. We want to give them great-looking phones they are not embarrassed to put in front of friends.’