When we think of phone accessories we usually think of cases, cover and docks - but Alcatel OneTouch thinks a little differently to the rest of us, and has announced its new Hero 2 flagship handset alongside five unique extras.
Shown off at the IFA technology trade show in Berlin, the Hero 2 is a 6-inch Android phone with a Full-HD screen, octa-core processor, 13-megapixel camera and all the trimmings you’d expect from a top-end phone.
But much more interesting are the accessories to be sold alongside the Hero 2. Here’s our breakdown of everything Alcatel has to offer. Also we should state here that Alcatel; is yet to announce a price or release date for any of these products.
Magic Flip DJ
A screen cover with a difference, the Magic Flip DJ works in tandem with the Hero 2’s Cross DJ app to give extra controls for equalisers, volume and mixing between two tracks. The case is powered by a magnetic connection to the back of the phone and flips open to create twice as much control space as using the Hero 2 on its own.
While we admire Alcatel OneTouch for creating something innovative and truly unique, we wonder how many people will want to buy the as-yet unpriced accessory when it only has one use. If a keyboard or controls for other apps could also be displayed then we’d be more understanding.
Although dim in our photos, Alcatel OneTouch assures us that this is a prototype and the final version will be as bright as the screen of the Hero 2.
A 3.5-inch e-ink screen to pair with the Hero 2 and display notifications like texts and emails, as well as static images like maps or contact details, the E-Card is described by Alcatel as “a physical widget.”
The E-Card can also be loaded up with eBooks from the Hero 2’s re-installed Kobo book app, so essentially the gadget can double as a small ebook reader - handy for when you don’t want to strain your eyes (or drain your battery) reading books on the phone itself.
Essentially a handset to take calls and see incoming notifications, the Sidekick 2 can be used as a more pocket-friendly handset while the Hero 2 is stored away in your bag. You can also control music playback - useful if the Hero 2 is plugged into a speaker dock across the room - and remotely control the phone’s camera thanks to its small screen acting as a viewfinder.
Wave 2 smartwatch
Running Alcatel OneTouch's own software and not the popular Android Wear by Google, the company’s new smartwatch is much smaller than many of its rivals and features the highly desired circular display, opposed to the chunky square offerings from LG and Samsung.
There’s an optical heart rate monitor on the back and Alcatel OneTouch has smartly integrated the watch’s USB charging connection into the strap itself. Although this means conventional straps cannot be fitted, the benefit is that there’s no small charging dock to take everywhere you go and eventually lose.
The watch is claimed to have a two-day battery life, will have custom themes to change the style of the watch face, syncs your steps and sleep to an app included with the Hero 2.
Alcatel OneTouch is remaining tight-lipped on a price and release date for the Wave 2, but we suspect it will seriously undercut the circa-£180 competition .
One Touch laptop
And finally...a laptop which is powered by the Hero 2 phone. Little more than the shell of a laptop, this computer is a display which mirrors exactly what is shown on the Hero 2, but with the added benefit of it being larger and including a keyboard and trackpad. There’s also a USB port to connect an external hard drive or mouse, if you prefer.
The phone can be used as a wireless game controller when synced (with an NFC hook up) to the laptop, although we found lag between the two devices to make this an uncomfortable experience. Alcatel OneTouch reckons you can get a day of battery life from the laptop, and it plans to undercut the price of Google’s Chromebook range.