How many of us remember Alcatel phones? Well, here at MobilityArena, we do, and with fond memories. Some of our very first mobile phones after GSM technology arrived to these shores were mobile devices by Alcatel. Unfortunately, Alcatel does not make mobile phones any longer, though you may find a few models still bearing that brand. But those are now produced and serviced by another company, TCL Mobile Limited. Alcatel is now Alcatel-Lucent and are into mobile and fixed networks and related services. Anyway, here is our brief walk down memory lane with Alcatel phones from before the days of smartphones.
The Golden Years of Alcatel Phones
In our opinion, the period 2000 to 2002 was Alcatel’s golden era. The company produced decently-featured and good-looking phones. While they had quite a number of low-end to mid-tier devices in their line-up, the products looked good, felt good and got the job done decently well. Alcatel phones from that era leave us nostalgic.
Before we start, you need to understand Alcatel’s numbering plan, then. First, these phones were called Alcatel OneTouch (like we have Samsung Galaxy). OneTouch is often abbreviated to “OT”. The 3xx series was low-end, 5xx mid-tier, and 7xx top-tier. For example, OT300 was low-end. The next set of low-end was named OT311.
Also, OT500 was mid-tier, and the next generation of mid-tier was the OT512, followed by the OT526. In the high-end class, first came the OT700, followed by OT715, and then OT735. Hopefully, you get the picture now. If you don’t, what does it matter? It is mostly past tense now.
Remember the OneTouch 300-series? Full list: 300, 301, 302, 303. Those were low-end fun-looking devices, and in funky colours too. But they didn’t look bad at all. All the Alcatel phone models in each series shared the same design, so the OT300, OT301, OT302, and OT303, for example, all looked alike.
Next on the scale was the OT311, a handy little guy with one of the finest WAP (v1.1) browsers of the day. It was announced in 2001, and had an orange-backlit monochrome display. It also featured not just SMS, but EMS. Who here remembers EMS? Well, Yomi does. He also owned an OT311 (his 4th GSM device) and spent long nights browsing via CSD (Circuit Switched Data) a.k.a. GSM dial-up. According to him, the 311’s browser was a joy to use back then. Wasn’t that when WAP browsing was N50 per minute? Sheesh. What was he thinking?
Moving up the class scale of Alcatel phones from 2000 to 2002, we come to the OT 500. Announced in 2000 when external antennas were still the vogue, this classy candy bar phone for the business-minded had a chubby antenna sticking out the top – and still looked good. The OT500 had no WAP browser, but its twin, the OT501 did WAP over CSD.
None of us did get our hands on the OT500-series, but some of us went window-shopping a lot back then, wishing we could come up with the funds to buy one. Ah, if only wishes were horses… Also of note is the fact that the Alcatel OT502 was Alcatel’s first GPRS device. Welcome to the world of always-on mobile internet connectivity. Again, all the models in the OneTouch 500 series looked alike.
There was also the OT511-series (pictured above), which we had little interaction with here, but again, it consisted of good-looking, well-built cell phones. And by this time, gone was the stubby external antenna. We are not through yet, though. We still have the OT526, OT 700, OT715, and OT735 to go – in the second part of this series, that is.