AT&T is embracing Android as Verizon Wireless did before it; the move is likely to ease the pain of any iPhone sales lost to Verizon starting next week. The mobile platform pendulum swings.
As word leaked online that Verizon Wireless would be offering Apple's
iPhone early this year, AT&T-the exclusive iPhone carrier in the United
States since its release-remained largely silent.
reticence to pump Android vanished
at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show.
senior vice president of devices for AT&T's wireless business, appeared on
stage with Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha to unveil the Motorola Atrix 4G
, an Android handset powered by
a dual-core processor.
2.2 handset will launch
March 6 for $199.99 with a two-year
contract. Customers may pay $499 to pair the Atrix 4G with the Motorola Laptop
Dock, which will allow consumers to flash their Atrix 4G content on a larger
monitor via Motorola's Linux-based Webtop application.
Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega just told the Wall Street Journal
Atrix 4G will carry the torch for the 12 or so Android phones the company will
roll out this year, including the HTC Inspire 4G and Samsung Infuse 4G, both of
which impressed eWEEK in limited testing at CES.
can deliver on its promises, it would certainly put the carrier on more even
footing with Verizon Wireless, whose flagship Droid portfolio catapulted
Android to the smartphone platform summit in the U.S.
newfound love for Android is no coincidence. Bradley told the Journal AT&T
wanted to take a "wait and see" approach to "version one of a
brand-new platform," but that doesn't carry a lot of weight, considering
Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile embraced Android early.
The media tend
to believe that AT&T embraced Android to counter the arrival
of the iPhone on Verizon's CMDA (Code
Division Multiple Access) network, a move analysts expect will result in Apple
shipping an additional 10 million to 20 million iPhones this year.
Verizon on Feb. 3 halted taking preorders for the device, citing high demand.
Verizon presold 100,000 units.
fiscal results may have provided a precursor to the impact of the Verizon
iPhone when the company revealed
that it inked just 400,000 new customers
to wireless contracts in the last three months of 2010, the lowest quarterly
number in the last five years.
customers eyeing the iPhone wanted to purchase it on Verizon's leading wireless
case, the golden goose is no longer laying its eggs only for AT&T, which is
a big reason the carrier is giving Android such a hearty hug this year. Can
Android help AT&T curb its losses?
tested the Atrix 4G at CES; the device appears well-positioned to compete with
the iPhone on AT&T, Verizon or anywhere else.
when Verizon spurned the iPhone a few years back, it turned to Android and
launched a very successful Droid line.
watched Android largely from afar, offering a few token handsets (Motorola
Backflip, anyone?) as it shipped tens of millions of iPhones to Apple-loving
consumers on an exclusive basis.
Verizon has brokered a deal to sell the iPhone 4, AT&T thinks Android is
looking rosier. Will Verizon deemphasize its Droid marketing in favor of the
iPhone? The company has said no, but we'll see.
learned from all of this is that the mobile-platform pendulum is swinging
between Verizon and AT&T, both of whom seek balance to compete.