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Normally I’d give myself a good kicking for picking up a lead from Nate Hoffelder over at The Digital Reader. After all, what kind of lazy journalism is that? But in this case, he may very well have turned me on to the ideal smartphone—one that’s going to make a conspicuous difference to my gadget buying plans.

According to the Alcatel press materials quoted over at Engadget, the Alcatel One Touch Hero features “a 6″ Full HD IPS display, 1.5 GHz Quad Core processor and 13 megapixel camera,” as well as a stylus for onscreen input, wireless linking to external displays, an inductive recharger, and other goodies. The stylus in itself might be (just) enough to pique my interest normally, given the amount of time I spend writing on tablets with one. But the real killer is the separate E Ink e-paper cover display.

Alcatel“Extend your display with the E Ink cover,” runs the Alcatel blurb. “Read newspapers and magazines on a second screen with this fresh digital experience. The technology enables users to read as if physical ink and paper on their mobile device with the stable image and wider viewing angle.” Many modern phones, of course, have perfectly good displays, but if you can have the extra legibility and daylight readability of epaper, then why not? And combine that with onscreen handwriting input and a large size screen, and it looks like we’re on to a winner.

This isn’t the first attempt to marry a phone with an E Ink display. We’ve already had the OnyxBook E Ink smartphone, with  a claimed huge increase in operating life due to its low-power display. There is the Russian Yotaphone, with a similar sales story. But the One Touch Hero looks to be the most elegant implementation so far, as well as the first from a name-brand manufacturer.

Alcatel may not be a name quite in the same league as Samsung or HTC, but I’ve been using an Alcatel M’Pop with a reasonable degree of satisfaction for some time now. However, if the One Touch Hero lives up to its announcement, I might have to retire that sooner, not later.

 
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