Alcatel is one of the latest smartphone companies to launch a touchscreen mobile device in North America, with the latest Hero 2+, a six inch phablet that comes with Cyanogen OS 11 pre-installed.
"We promised big things for ALCATEL ONETOUCH in North America for 2015, and with our partnership with Cyanogen and the launch of the HERO 2+, we're delivering on our promise," said Steve Cistulli, Senior Vice President of North America for Alcatel One Touch. "We will continue to invest in strategic partnerships -- like we have with Cyanogen -- which not only helps build our brand here in North America, but also helps us challenge expectations when it comes to the devices we bring to market here."
The Hero 2+ comes with a 2 GHz octa-core Cortex A7 CPU from Mediatek; it has a six inch 1080p display, a built-in stylus, a 13MP rear camera, a 5MP front-camera for selfies, 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB of storage with support for 32 GB more via microSD cards, and LTE connectivity.
The device runs Cyanogen OS 11, which unfortunately is still based on the older Android KitKat 4.4.4 version. However, it comes with some extra features, such as a more advanced camera app with many filters and a theming engine which gives users many options to personalize their phones.
It also has SMS-based end-to-end encryption (Whisperpush), compatible with other Cyanogen phones and with the TextSecure/Signal app on other Android devices and iPhones. The Cyanogen OS has a Privacy Guard feature as well, which can block unwanted app permissions either by default or by asking the user before the permissions are enabled within the app, post-installation.
Alcatel isn't a too popular brand in smartphones right now, so it makes sense for the company to partner with an OS vendor such as Cyanogen, which can also handle the development of the OS completely for its devices. This should help Alcatel cut costs with OS development and also take away the burden of having to build a competitive customized OS for the market.
The Hero 2+ device will arrive in the U.S. and Canada in Q2 2015, unlocked and selling for $300 on Alcatel's web store.