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Alcatel One Touch Premiere offers users budget messaging and social networking on US Cellular

The Alcatel One Touch Premiere is now available on US Cellular's Messaging Plus plan, offering a full QWERTY keyboard alongside a 2.8-inch touchscreen.

Alcatel One Touch Premiere (side by side)
Alcatel One Touch Premiere (side by side)

Budget manufacturer Alcatel One Touch has introduced a new messaging-focused device on US Cellular's monthly Messaging Plus data plan. Dubbed Premiere, the phone features a full QWERTY keyboard and runs what appears to be a skinned version of Android 2.3 Gingerbread, preloaded with apps including AccuWeather, Amazon Audible, and Amazon Shopping. Its display is a 2.8-inch QVGA capacitive touchscreen, offering a combination of touch and text input.

Clearly aimed the lower end of the market, the Premiere is available for $29.99 on a two-year contract, after a $50 mail-in rebate is taken into account. US Cellular's Messaging Plus plans starting at $15 per month. With the touchscreen and keyboard, it could be enough to tempt customers away from more expensive devices such as the BlackBerry Bold 9900, offering standard email, SMS, and social networking functionality — still, Gingerbread feels like something of a throwback for a brand new phone.