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Alcatel introduces Pop S series of budget-friendly LTE phones

Brad Molen

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After seeing Alcatel OneTouch announce a series of mid-range Idol phones and a lower-cost fitness-centric phone yesterday, a family of budget devices may not seem quite as... cool. Regardless, the company is pushing out a new trio of Pop smartphones known as "Pop S" (the 'S' stands for -- you got it -- speed) that throw in Cat 4 LTE connectivity while keeping down the price. First, there's the Pop S7 (pictured above), which features a 5-inch qHD display as well as MediaTek's new quad-core 1.3GHz LTE chip, Android 4.4 KitKat, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, a 5MP rear camera and VGA front-facing camera, microSD support and a 3,000mAh battery. It'll come in two flavors of LTE, depending on where you live, and will be making its way to Europe and Asia first. The device will go for 189 euro ($260).

If you want something bigger, the S9 might be a better fit -- it's a 6-inch 720p handset with a 3,400mAh battery and comes in at 8.5mm thick. It features a quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm 8926 processor, 8MP rear camera, 2MP front-facing camera, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and 8GB internal storage (along with a microSD slot that takes up to 32GB). The device should launch in March in Europe and Asia, but we expect to see it on Tracfone in the US sometime in the second half of this year. All this can be yours for 219 euro ($300).

Lastly, there's the Pop S3, which is a much more petite size and comes with a variety of swappable back covers in the box. The specs are pretty minimal in certain places, but impressive in others: 4-inch WVGA display, Android 4.3 and 2,000mAh battery aren't nothing worth talking about, but it offers a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, the same high-speed LTE connectivity, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, a 5MP rear camera and VGA front-facing cam, 4GB internal storage and microSD that supports up to 32GB. This particular device should head to the UK sometime around May, and it'll eventually make it to the US, we're told. All in all, it's a fairly impressive stack of phones that'll bring solid speed to emerging markets and developing countries, but the big question will be if the price is right.

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