My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Why the US$144 Alcatel OneTouch POP 7 is the perfect Educational Tablet

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Why the US$144 Alcatel OneTouch POP 7 is the perfect Educational Tablet

 It’s official folks; the TCL Corporation makes Tablets.

This realization comes to me at a time when Tablet sales are falling worldwide according the analyst Canalys as noted in the article “Tablet shipments continue to fall worldwide”, published August 12, 2015 by Andrea Chang, Physorg and “Tablet sales continue to slide – Canalys”, published 12 AUG 2015, by Steve Costello, Mobile World Live.

So I was quite surprised when I recently discovered that the TCL Corporation had launched a fairly decent pair of Tablets way back at CES (Computer Electronics Show) 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada as reported in the article “Alcatel Pop 7 and Pop 8 bring LTE to cheap Tablets”, published 2014, January 6, by Eric Franklin, CNET News.
The two (2) tablets launched were the Alcatel OneTouch POP 7  and the Alcatel OneTouch Pop 8, differing in terms of screen size and other little details. The Alcatel OneTouch POP 7 is a 7” Tablet whereas the Alcatel OneTouch POP 8 is an 8” Tablet but both run Google Android 4.2 Jelly Bean.

At US$144 (JA$16,795) to US$154 (JA$18,000), based on which Telecom Provider you decide to go with, the Alcatel OneTouch POP 7 is going to be a must-have for Jamaican and Caribbean children come September 2015.

But it’s been so long since January 2014! Alcatel OneTouch POP 7, where have you been all my life!?

The Alcatel OneTouch POP 7 – Low cost TCL Tablet seeking a home

The Alcatel OneTouch POP 7 main claim to fame at the time was its low US$150 cost while packing 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution). But the novelty got really old really fast, especially with Americans skeptical of Chinese products!

By Father's Day in June 2014, Telecom Provider T-Mobile had the Tablet on a US$100 rebate as reported in “T-Mobile shaves $100 off Tablets for dads and grads”, published 2014, June 4 by Scott Webster, CNET News.

By Valentine’s Day in February 2015, it was a Free Gift with the purchase of a US$20 per month 1GB Data Plan on T-Mobile as reported in the article “Want a 'free' Tablet? T-Mobile gives away Alcatel 7-incher for Valentine's Day”, published 2015, February 10, by Scott Webster, CNET News.

At least MetroPCS kept the flame burning a little while longer in October 2014 as reported in my article “It may be basic, but this 7-inch Tablet has 4G and only costs $150”, published 2014, October 24 by Andy Boxall, Digitaltrends, with the Alcatel OneTouch POP 7 becoming a Christmas gift for some very surprised and very confused American children.

So now it's our turn in the Caribbean in 2015 to purchase the Alcatel OneTouch POP 7 for our children going back to school by September 2015. What makes this Tablet so special? Its super kid-friendly!

Alcatel OneTouch POP 7 - Too heavy in the hand for one-handed commute

Straight out the Box, Dr. Dre Style, the Alcatel OneTouch POP 7 comes with a USB Cable, User Manual and Wall Charger that works with a microUSB 2.0 port.

The Alcatel OneTouch POP 7 sports an optional magnetic cover with a backplate that comes in a rainbow of colours to spruce up that plain white look as reported in the article “Alcatel OneTouch Pop 7”, published  2014, April 15 by Luis D, PhoneArena:

1.      Yellow
2.      Black
3.      White
4.      Pink
5.      Blue

Changing the backpanel and magnetic covers is a snap, literally. Kids might find the Tablet a tad heavy but a featherweight compared to that hamper filed with books that they usual carry on their backs.

In fact, it’s only a shade heavier than the 4.5” Alcatel OneTouch Idol 2 Mini which weighs in at 110 g (3.88 oz) and costs US$200 as noted in my blog article entitled “How the US$200 Alcatel OneTouch Idol 2 Mini will be worshipped by Caribbean people – Why Colours make Budget smartphones sells”.

For a toddler, it’s not going to be a device that they can hold with one hand. With dimensions of 192 x 113 x 8.9 mm (7.56 x 4.45 x 0.35 in) and is a somewhat hefty 285 g (10.05 oz), this will appear to be a large tablet to a toddler. Make sure you get the optional magnetic cover, as they might want to toss it about a lot!

Alcatel OneTouch POP 7 - Low Resolution Screen with a Poor Camera

Now let’s dive into the specs!

The Alcatel OneTouch POP 7 sports a TFT (Thin Film Transistor) screen with a resolution of 1,024 x 600 and 170 ppi pixel density. Strangely enough, it doesn’t support IPS (In-plane switching) as its big sister, the Alcatel OneTouch POP 8, does.

Not that your kids will notice or even miss any of the 16M colors it can display. But they will notice that they can’t view the screen from any angle, making it hard for you as a parent to see what they’re up to on the Tablet.

The Tablet's 1.3GHz Dual-Core Cortex-A7 is housed on a Mediatek MT8312 Chipset and gets graphics support from a Mali-400 GPU.

Fret not however, as you can always slot in an external microSD Card to add an additional 32GB of storage space for music and apps. Already, it's becoming painfully clear that this is more of a keep-them-occupied tablet and not a Gaming Tablet!

Alcatel OneTouch POP 7 – Kid-friendly Tablet with Educational potential

You’ll probably notice that the Alcatel OneTouch POP 7’s Rear-facing Camera is only 2 Megapixel. The images it shoots also appear washed out as the camera can only take pictures with a resolution of 1600 x 1200 pixels.

Curiously, this is slightly higher than what the 1,024 x 600 Tablet screen can manage as it still manages to shoot 720p video. Still, your kid will have a lot of fun learning on how to use the camera to take pictures and two-handed selfies, making this tablet the perfect practice tool to get them Social media savvy.

The VGA Front-facing camera can make Skype Video Calling but the processor might not be able to handle Group Calling as explained in my blog article entitled “How to make a Free Group Call in Skype – Google+ officially a Ghost Town Again as Microsoft gears up for WhatsApp free VoIP Calling in June 2014”.

If your kids already have the US$60 Alcatel OneTouch Pop C2 as described in my blog article entitled “How the US$60 Alcatel OneTouch Pop C2 manages to Pop - Lower Pricepoint and Great Battery life”, they’ll be used to playing MP3, AAC+, WAV and WM files to MP4/H.264 videos.

If you’ve spoiled them buy buying them Wired or wireless Bluetooth headphones like the ones listed in my blog article entitled “Five Great Over-the-Ear Headphones - Noise Cancelling, Comfortable, Fashionable Bluetooth Music Streaming”, they’ll love you to bits!

A standard 3.5mm jack fits any headphone such as the US$250 Philips Fidelio L2 headphones as detailed in my blog article entitled “US$250 Philips Fidelio L2 headphones - Great bargain Headphones that's a Quiet Achiever”. 

You can also pair the Tablet with a Bluetooth 4.0 headphones such as the US$249.95 Hello Kitty Solo2 as reported in my blog article entitled “US$299.95 Solo2 Wireless coming November 2014 - US$249.95 Hello Kitty Solo2 and US$149.95 Hello Kitty UrBeats launches as Beats Audio coming to iOS 8.0”.

All wonderful choices that your kids will love!

Alcatel OneTouch POP 7 – How to teach kids about the Internet and Streaming

The Alcatel OneTouch POP 7 isn’t all about just play or distractions to keep them still while you out in public. 

Once you’ve got Wi-Fi in the area or a Digicel Zero Data Plan as described in my blog article entitled “Digicel launches Digicel Zero - How @Digicel_jamaica is testing VoLTE vs @WhatsApp's Free Voice Calling to boost smartphone sales”, you can surf the Internet anywhere, anytime!

Play time can also be about learning, as you can let them play with Google Earth Professional, a great educational product for free as described in my MICO Wars blog entitled “US$399 Google Earth Pro now Free as Profit in Selling Bacon than the Whole Hog”.

If you have Wi-Fi in your home, the built-in Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n option allows you to stream Rdio from Digicel or Deezer from LIME as explained in my blog article entitled “@Digicel_Jamaica and @LIMEJamaica sign Streaming Deals - How HD Audio Streaming, 4G LTE and Caribbean Artiste means Streaming Revenue Bad Blood”.

You might need to invest in a Portable Battery Charger as detailed in my Geezam blog article entitled “How to extend your smartphone’s battery Life with a Portable Battery Charger” as the 3240 mAh Li-Ion battery only gives you 300 h on 2G and 70 h on 3G.

To children, this might as well be eternity, as they can get practice learning how to recharge their precious Tablet as well as learn how to take care of its delicate screen as explained in my Geezam blog article entitled “How to make your own Cleaning Fluid and Cleaning Tips for your Smartphone or Tablet”.

So a Tablet that’s a keep-‘em-busy-tool while it gets them to learn? Can it also watch your kids while you shop like a robotic Nanny? Unfortunately no, but this is the next best thing!

Alcatel OneTouch POP 7 - Tablet training wheel for Toddlers

The low resolution screen of the Alcatel OneTouch POP 7 means that even the icons will be hard to see, thanks to the lack of the IFS.

To you as an adult, the screen will appear blurry making this a no-no for reading e-books as described in my MICO Wars blog article entitled “How and Where to Self-Publish and promote your e-Book as an Indie Writer”.

Videos will appear pixilated with still photos in the Photo Viewer being hard to view without zooming in.

Washed out colours means whites having a slight tinge of blue and cyan and magenta, thereby not appearing up to par with higher-end Tablets like Apple iPad Air 2 and the Apple iPad Mini 3 as detailed in my blog article entitled “Apple SIM in the Apple iPad Air 2 - How iOS 8.0 Carrier Unlocked SIM sells Apple iPads in Year of the Sheep 2015”. 

So in concluding, while this is a very basic tablet that’s sparse on features, it still makes an excellent gift for your kids to introduce them to the Internet and Apps. With a Wi-Fi and a 4G LTE Option, the Alcatel OneTouch POP 7 children will have an eternity of endless fun and is a recommended gift for toddlers this Christmas 2015!

Here’s the link:

No comments: