February 10, 2016
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In a creative move to push virtual reality tech into the hands of mid-level phone users, Alcatel is shipping the OneTouch Idol 4S inside packaging that doubles as Google Cardboard-compliant VR goggles. It’s a nifty little bonus on top of a very well-specced mid-range device.

Alcatel has been trying hard to make a name for themselves in North America, but mainstream success has continued to elude them. Nevertheless, they are making strong forward motion against the current, rising from the thirteenth-largest cellphone brand in the region in 2014 to the fifth in 2016. This might be the year that Alcatel finally busts through the barrier and into public awareness.

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Alcatel OneTouch’s Idol 4 and Idol 4S leak ahead of unveiling (Update: more photos)

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The company has succeeded in producing relatively high specs in low and mid-range unlocked devices. As is becoming increasingly evident, 2016 will be the year VR tech went commercial. Alcatel is hitching their wagon to that star with the OneTouch Idol 4S, a 5.5-inch headset that boasts a quad HD AMOLED display, a Snapdragon 652 processor, 3GB of RAM and 16 gigs of storage (it has a microSD slot if you need more). 16MP camera, 8MP selfie snapper, and flash LEDs on both sides. All this for $400, and Alcatel is attaching a perk sure to lure in plenty of novelty fans and VR enthusiasts: the plastic packaging that it comes in cleverly transforms into a Cardboard-ready headset.

No word as to whether the Idol 4S’s little sister, the Idol 4, will ship with the VR headset packaging. This $250 device is effectively a stripped down version of the 4S built to appeal to a more budget-conscious demographic. Nevertheless, it’s still pretty impressive with its 5.2-inch LCD screen, Snapdragon 617 processor, and 2GB of RAM. Both the Idol 4 and the Idol 4S are slated to ship this May.

What are your thoughts regarding this interesting use of packaging? Innovative marketing work, or a gimmick? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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