In November, Alcatel unveiled the IDOL 4S with Windows 10, its new flagship-class smartphone running Microsoft's mobile operating system. Despite Alcatel hinting at plans to launch it in new markets, the device remains exclusively available in one country, the United States; and on one carrier, T-Mobile.
The handset launched on T-Mobile on November 10, priced at $469.99 - whether paid for upfront, or in installments over the course of a contract. Now, two months after its launch, the carrier has cut its price by $37.99 (8%) to $432.
T-Mobile.com has listed the handset as a "web exclusive" ever since it was released, but the listing gives no indication that the price cut is a temporary offer or special deal of any kind. It's not clear what prompted a price cut so soon after the device's launch, but it may be related to declining consumer interest in Windows phones.
The latest data from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech shows that Windows' share of the US smartphone market fell from 2.3% in November 2015, to just 0.8% in the three months ending in November 2016. According to AdDuplex, Alcatel accounted for roughly 6% of all Windows 10 Mobile devices in use in the US around the time of the IDOL 4S' launch, and it seems unlikely that demand for those handsets has risen significantly since then.
Indeed, given the timing of the AdDuplex report, nearly all of those Alcatel Windows 10 Mobile devices in use would have been the Fierce XL, a lower-end handset that was also exclusive to T-Mobile, priced at $139.99. T-Mobile ended sales of the Fierce XL with Windows 10 in November, just nine months after its launch.
Key specs of the IDOL 4S with Windows 10 include:
- 5.5-inch AMOLED with Full HD (1920x1080px) resolution and Asahi Dragontrail Glass
- Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 SoC
- 4GB RAM
- 64GB storage (plus microSD card support up to 128GB)
- 21MP rear camera with Sony IMX230 sensor, HDR support, 4K video recording at 30fps, and dual-LED flash
- 8MP front-facing camera with wide angle lens, 1080p video at 30fps, and LED flash
- 4G LTE connectivity
- 802.11ac Wi-Fi
- Bluetooth 4.1
- USB Type-C connector with Quick Charge support
- 3000mAh battery
- 6.9mm thick
The IDOL 4S with Windows 10 is the first - and so far, the only - phone running Microsoft's OS to officially support virtual reality experiences, and is being sold with a free VR headset "for a limited only".
On top of that, it supports the PC-like Continuum mode in Windows 10 Mobile, which allows owners to use a mouse and keyboard with the device when it's connected to a larger display. However, buyers will need to purchase a desktop docking solution separately.
The IDOL 4S is also one of the few remaining options for those wishing to purchase a Windows 10 Mobile device in the United States, as Microsoft's handsets have reached the end of their retail lives. For those intending to buy a flagship-class phone, it's also a much more affordable alternative than HP's Elite x3, which costs $799, although that price does include the desktop dock that enables the Continuum feature.
If you're thinking of buying the Alcatel IDOL 4S with Windows 10, make sure you read our detailed review of the device first.