Ina Fried

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Alcatel One Touch Hopes “Iron Man” Tie-In Will Help It Make a Name for Itself

Alcatel One Touch, one of several Chinese phone makers with aspirations to boost its U.S. brand, is hoping a tie-in with “Iron Man” will help that effort.

The phone will be featured in the upcoming “Iron Man 3” film, and Alcatel One Touch is also running several “Iron Man”-themed promotions, including one with RadioShack.

Idol

“The partnership with Marvel’s ‘Iron Man 3’ allows the Alcatel One Touch brand to connect with a broader audience, many of which may be introduced to our brand for the first time,” said Nicolas Zibell, Alcatel’s president for the Americas and Pacific.

The company recently decided to bring two of its higher-end models to the U.S., the 6.45-millimeter-thick Idol Ultra and the five-inch-screen Scribe HD. Alcatel hasn’t said when the devices will debut, whether they will have a carrier subsidy, or what they will cost.

Speaking at Mobile World Congress in February, marketing chief Dan Dery said that Alcatel has been working to build its U.S. presence.

“We are extremely serious with the U.S. market,” Dery told AllThingsD. “It is a big investment.”

Alcatel One Touch is a brand of TCL Communication, a broader Chinese consumer electronics firm.

The company is one of several Chinese companies (along with Huawei and ZTE) hoping to find space in an already crowded U.S. smartphone market.

Alcatel One Touch is focused in the U.S. on building products for GSM carriers such as AT&T and T-Mobile. Dery said the first step has been building a reputation for delivering quality products on time.

“First we need to be a credible player in the U.S.,” Dery said. “It’s not just because you are an existing player somewhere else that you are credible.”

That has meant being willing to sell products under the carrier’s brands and at the low end of the market, but now the company wants to bring a broader range of smartphones — and maybe even tablets — to the U.S.

“I think we have been under the radar for too long,” Dery said.

The company is also trying to find a niche as a mass-market brand that can offer perhaps not the latest and greatest, but a lot of technology at a good price. That’s something that can even appeal to superheros, apparently.

“Our One Touch Idol smartphone aligns well within the innovative gadgets that Tony Stark has in his arsenal, as it provides consumers with enabling technology, a well-designed slim form factor, at a smart price,” Zibell said.

Who knew Iron Man was so budget-conscious?


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus