Alcatel's OneTouch Pixi 3 is like a box of chocolates: You never know what you're gonna get

At CES 2015, Alcatel showed off one entry-level smartphone with a heap of permutations. Bottom line: the Pixi 3 that goes on sale in your neighborhood may be completely different than one halfway around the world.

Jessica Dolcourt
Jessica Dolcourt Editorial Director / CNET Franchises, How-To, Performance Optimization

Jessica Dolcourt leads the CNET Franchises, How-To and Performance Optimization teams. Her career with CNET began in 2006, and spans reviews, reporting, analysis and commentary for desktop software; mobile software, including the very first Android and iPhone apps and operating systems; and mobile hardware, with an emphasis on iPhone and Samsung. Jessica was one of the first people in the world to test, review and report on foldable phones and 5G wireless speeds. Jessica began leading CNET's How-To section for tips and FAQs in 2019, guiding coverage of practical advice on expansive topics ranging from personal finance to phones and home. She holds an MA with Distinction from the University of Warwick (UK).

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LAS VEGAS -- I don't even know how to start describing the Alcatel Pixi 3 I saw at CES 2015, because there's no single phone to see. There are 24.

Alcatel is starting with four base configurations and letting carrier partners choose the data connection (4G LTE or 3G) and the operating system (Android, Windows Phone, Firefox).

So, the Pixi 3 that shows up in your country could be anything from a 3.5-inch Firefox OS handset with a 1GH dual-core processor and 5-megapixel camera to a 5-inch Android 5.0 Lollipop phone with an 8-megapixel camera and quad-core chip.

The many faces of Alcatel's OneTouch Pixi 3 (pictures)

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If this isn't confusing enough, the carriers also get to choose among seven eye-melting fluorescent shades, including black (but not white). This is also a future Pixi 3 owner's chance to splash out a bit; they'll be able to acquire a different colored back cover to pop on.

With so much up in the air, there is just one constant in the Pixi 3, and that's its status as an inexpensive entry-level phone. Rounded edges and a plastic design remain rock-steady across all the device permutations.

Although there's no pricing structure yet (that will depend on the set of specs a carrier picks), you can bet it'll be on the more budget end of the scale, the market segment that Alcatel really dives into.

Check out all the action from CES 2015.

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