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Alcatel gets serious with BlackBerry-styled £45 Qwerty phone

Budget smart phone company Alcatel's new phone offers fast text messaging and email on a Qwerty keyboard, but at a very, very low price.

Master of cheap and cheerful mobiles Alcatel has decided to get serious, offering a phone with a BlackBerry-style Qwerty keyboard for less than 50 quid.

For the princely sum of £44.95, Phones4U is offering the Alcatel OT-802 on pay as you go. As well as the Qwert stuff it has an optical trackpad, 2-megapixel camera, Web browser, FM radio and up to 9 hours of talk time.

This device doesn't have features many take for granted, such as 3G or Wi-Fi, but it should do a fair job of making calls and writing text messages. Web browsing at snailish speeds will be a frustrating experience, however.

Email and social networking could be more usable, but we'll tell you more once we have one in for a full review.

It comes after the release last week of a very funky-looking pink and black Qwerty slider phone -- seemingly modelled on one of the Microsoft Kin devices -- for the startlingly low price of £30. 

Alcatel is staying well away from the smart phone big boys by providing acceptably stylish phones at rock-bottom prices, and fair play to it. Their functionality which isn't that far away, for instance, from one of the low-end Nokia smart phones like the 5250 which we took a look at today.

As the company says itself, it "caters for budget-conscious consumers who are looking for credible phones that do not break the bank yet still fulfil basic mobile needs, including mobile messaging, MMS, image capturing, social networking and more."

Good luck to it, we say. Any of you Alcatel fans out there?