Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Alcatel Idol 3 8GB actually has 16GB inside

A lot has been said about devices coming with just 16GB, when upping that capacity to 32GB represents just a few extra dollars in component costs. But then we have even worse situations, like a smartphone that is sold as being a 8GB device, when it actually has a 16GB inside - but with half the capacity deliberately hidden from the user.

The Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 has different versions available, but it's the 8GB we'll focus on. This device is sold as having just 8GB - but the fact is that it is exactly the same as the 16GB version, but with 8GB hidden from sight.

Thankfully, there are guides on XDA that explain how regain the extra 8GB - though some reports are saying that Alcatel's latest update is locking up devices to prevent users from resorting to this sort of techniques. If that's true, Alcatel will sure to face increased criticism (as if hiding 8GB wasn't bad enough).

Sure, there are other situations where customers pay a lower price for capped hardware. In CPUs and GPUs, it's usual for the first production runs to have lower binned chips (a chip with some defective cores can have those disabled and sold as a lower specced chip) - and as production yields improve, sometimes they might end up using perfectly fine chips, disabling working cores to keep the supply line. Anyway, trying to do the same with smartphone capacities seems to set a very bad precedent.

... It won't take too much to think how this may end up like. You'd buy a cheap phone, and then have a popup offering: unlock an extra 128GB of memory for just $99.99; improve your screen to UHD 4K resolution for just $199.99; speed up your games by turning your dual-core CPU into an octa-core for $49.99; and, make sure you don't run out of battery by unlocking an extra 4000mAh in your battery, for just $0.99 per day.

Sounds crazy?... You have been warned! :)

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