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Alcatel crams four cameras in a phone because two isn't enough

Nor is three.
Cherlynn Low, @cherlynnlow
April 5, 2017
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Remember the good old days, when having a camera on your phone was considered cutting-edge technology? These days, most smartphones rock two cameras, and an increasing number are sporting two on the back and one up front, bringing the total to three. Apparently, that isn't enough. At least, not according to Alcatel. The affordable phone maker is selling a phone with four cameras -- two on the back and two in front -- called the Flash.

Both the front and back systems on the Flash feature one color and one monochrome sensor with f/2.0 apertures, and are accompanied by dual-tone flash bulbs. The rear setup uses two 13-megapixel sensors, while the pair on the other side are 8-MP and 5-MP. With what the company calls Super Selfie Mode, you can choose to blur out the background or foreground of your pictures and selfies, or leave everything in focus.

Plenty of other phones on the market already offer dual cameras on the rear to create an artificial depth of field effect, but none so far pack a two-lens setup on both the front and back. With this setup, you can snap selfies with the pleasing bokeh effect. No longer will you have to suffer the humiliation of having to ask people to help you take a picture with the rear camera just so you can achieve the DSLR-esque look.

To be fair, the Huawei P10 already has a similar feature. Its single front camera can take selfies with a soft focus effect thanks to the company's clever software. But with dedicated hardware, the Flash might achieve a more accurate result than the P10's sometimes finicky system.

For now, it's not clear how much the Flash will cost or if it will come to the US. The Alcatel site that lists the phone appears to be specific to Saudi Arabia. We've reached out to Alcatel for more details on the phone's specs and availability, and have yet to get more information. In the meantime, as you wait to find out exactly when you can buy the Flash, you can distract yourself with the mesmerizing lights on this other Alcatel phone, which is studded with LEDs.

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