Alcatel Onetouch announced the third generation of its Pixi line of smartphones a few days ago and offered up the intriguing possibility of a phone that could run three different operating systems. Now we've gotten a chance to check out the new Pixi family and unfortunately got some bad news — users won't be able to boot between Android, Firefox OS, and Windows Phone. Alcatel told us that the multi-OS mode is more of an offering for carrier partners to fill out their lineups with phones running their preferred OS rather than something a buyer will be able to play around with.
That unfortunate omission means there isn't a whole for the Pixi family to hang their hat on, at least for those of us used to huge and powerful smartphones. Alcatel described these phones as their most entry-level devices, and it shows — they're thick, not very pleasant to hold, and have no discernible standout hardware features. The 3.5-inch model has the same screen resolution of the iPhone 3GS, which was released back in 2009, the 4-inch model comes in at 800 x 480, and the 4.5- and 5-inch models feature 854 x 400 screens. That's a far cry from the 720p and 1080p screens that've become commonplace, and the relatively low resolution isn't the only problem with these displays. They're just not that pleasant to look at.
Alcatel is competing with the Moto E, not the Moto X
Of course, these phones aren't meant to compare with the Nexus 6 or Moto X — they're meant to be incredibly low-cost devices that help bring connected smartphones to more and more people. To that end, it's worth noting that three of the four Pixi models will run on LTE networks, a pretty big inclusion for an inexpensive phone. Indeed, while the cheap but surprisingly good Moto E feels like a much higher-quality device overall, it doesn't include LTE support. And while these phones aren't much to look at, they were pretty responsive in the quick amount of time we had to play with them.
I'd probably still recommend a Moto E over the Pixi series, but these could still be viable options for anyone looking for a dirt-cheap, unlocked smartphone with LTE on board. While we're disappointed not to have a cheap phone that can triple-boot into different smartphone operating systems, an inexpensive and reasonably capable LTE phone could still be a meaningful product to a huge market of potential customers.