How do you get people more excited about virtual reality? If you're Alcatel, you bundle a VR viewer with the phone. A new report says the upcoming Idol 4 handset will ship in a box that will double as a Google Cardboard-like VR headset.
Alcatel has not yet announced the Idol 4, but the company is expected to show off a follow-up to last year's successful Idol 3 flagship at Mobile World Congress in Spain this month. And according to VentureBeat's Evan Blass, the next-gen handset will come in two flavors: a 5.2-inch Idol 4 and 5.5-inch Idol 4S.
The Idol 4S will likely be the most highly-specced device out of Alcatel to date. It will reportedly carry a quad HD AMOLED display, octa-core Snapdragon 652 display and 16-megapixel rear and 8-MP front cameras. On top of that, the 4S will come in a hard plastic box that you can use as a Google Cardboard-compliant VR viewer, said Blass.
Based on the picture VentureBeat obtained, Alcatel's goggles looks like a sturdy, solid version of Google's cardboard folded headset. You should be able to put your phone into the frame, and use a VR app to turn your videos and pictures into split-screen, stereoscopic content that you can view in virtual reality.
This bonus goody, plus the premium specs for the Idol 4S' reportedly sub-$400 price, could really boost Alcatel's chances of having a winner on its hands. Last year's $250 Idol 3 garnered praise for its solid build, long-lasting battery and overall value. The Idol 3's success propelled the company to the fourth spot on IDC's list of top North American phone makers (by total units shipped).
Alcatel declined to comment on the report, but Blass has a solid history of dropping accurate leaks out of his Twitter account @evleaks.
The Chinese company will have to contend with the likes of Samsung Galaxy S6 and LG G5, which are both expected to launch at MWC later this month. We will be in Barcelona reporting on all the smartphone news at MWC, so stay tuned for all the details.