Alcatel Goes Big Into VR With $99 360 Cam, Standalone Headset, by Sascha Segan



BERLIN—It’s not virtual, just reality: the biggest surprise of the IFA trade show so far is the smallest camera.

Alcatel today rolled out a 360-degree VR camera, the Alcatel 360, which starts at $99, and a standalone, Android-powered headset, the Alcatel Vision. We got some time with both of them, and even recorded some video with the 360 camera.

“We did a pretty good job on the Idol 4, with VR in the box. We sold more than a million of the VR solution … this is an opportunity to advance our VR offering,” said Alcatel president Nicolas Zibell.

360-degree cameras tend to be expensive. The Samsung Gear 360, which I use for my 360s, costs $349. The Alcatel 360 kicks the price down to $99 by offloading all of the processing to your phone. It’s just a set of lenses with a MicroUSB port on the bottom. Initially, you’ll need an Alcatel Pop4, Idol 4, or Idol 4S phone to use it, but early next year it’ll become compatible with other Android phones with a Snapdragon 625 or better processor, Zibell said.

“We need 360 cameras in the hands of consumers, and there are opportunities for a much more affordable 360 camera in the market,” he said.

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