If you’re a brand that is not really that popular but would like for new users to consider you an alternative to the bigger, more expensive ones, then you will probably do everything in your power to make things appealing to the public. It seems that Alcatel’s strategy is just the opposite as users have been complaining that some apps, the calculator in particular, asks you for a rating before you can unlock its essential but more advanced features.
A fiery discussion (as if there’s any other kind) happened on reddit when a user shared that the stock calculator app and its scientific mathematical functions are locked behind a sort of pay wall that can only be accessed once you give it a 5-star review. The truth is that any review can unlock it, but since that’s what it’s asking for, then that’s what desperate users give it. Aside from the fact that soliciting for reviews this way isn’t allowed by Google, it is a pretty crappy way to treat users.
Since the reddit discussion however, it looks like the app has disappeared from the Google Play Store. It eventually reappeared but it looks like you won’t find it asking for 5-star reviews anymore. Hopefully, this will also stop Alcatel (specifically, TCL that is using the Alcatel brand) from actually replacing the stock Android apps with spam-ridden 3rd party essential apps through the software updates.
Alcatel doesn’t have a comment yet but until they stop with this practice, then they probably can’t expect more consumers to buy their smartphones even if they do improve it eventually.