AT&T made a series of moves aimed at helping developers build better mobile apps to run on its wireless platform, including a new API environment, new support for HTML5 apps and a developer-centric cloud platform, among other things.
AT&T announced the new initiatives at its sixth annual AT&T Developer Summit in Las Vegas, which is being held one day before the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show there.
AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets Chief Marketing Officer David Christopher announced the new AT&T API Platform for easy access to APIs. The new API Platform provides support for the development of HTML5 mobile apps with “add-that-to-my-bill” technology that will make it easy for developers to monetize their applications through the AT&T bill, the company said. The new API platform also features new tools to help developers create multiscreen apps, including for AT&T’s U-verse TV service.
The AT&T API Platform will make app development easier by giving developers access to the APIs they need in one convenient place. When developers start writing applications, the classes and objects they will need to interface with AT&T services are already written, and accessible. The platform empowers innovation through relationships with outside developers, while maintaining AT&T’s commitment to protecting and maintaining its customers’ privacy. The platform will offer in-app billing technology that will allow developers to receive payment for their apps through the convenience, speed and security of the AT&T customer bill. The platform is designed to support HTML5 browsers, part of AT&T’s commitment to the advancement of HTML5 technology.
In addition, AT&T plans to introduce a new AT&T App Store in HTML5 with a fresh format that will benefit developers and customers – another move to establish the company’s commitment to HTML5 technology. Jeff Bradley, senior vice president of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets, announced that AT&T plans to launch a new HTML5 Web storefront this year that will be “a fresh approach to discovering new apps for our customers. More than a short list of categories, this storefront will be a magazine-like collection of stories,” he said. Bradley invited developers to participate in the App Center beta by signing up at developer.att.com/appcenter.
“Applications are one of the primary reasons people buy smartphones and tablets,” Christopher said in a statement. “With that appetite, we need to have the world’s greatest apps – running at their best – on our network. Collaborating with developers and supporting their creativity through the AT&T API Platform and other best-in-class tools is the best way that we can make sure our 100 million-plus wireless customers have access to the best apps and mobile experience.”
AT&T also announced plans to launch its AT&T Cloud Architect, a suite of integrated cloud services for developers that enables users to build an online business or run an application quickly with low operating costs. The platform will support near-real time ordering, provisioning and scaling, in a cloud environment. OS development options will include LAMP for CentOS, Debian, Fedora and Red Hat, as well as Windows Server options. In the future, AT&T will add a full API framework to enable developers to fully tap into AT&T’s dynamic cloud, the company said.
“We understand that developers’ cloud needs differ significantly from those of AT&T Business Solution’s more traditional customers such as CIOs and IT managers,” said John Donovan, AT&T’s CTO, in a statement. “Developers need the reliability and stability of our differentiated cloud, too, but first and foremost, they need flexibility, affordability and speed in turning up new services. This is what AT&T Cloud Architect offers.”
Christopher also announced that AT&T is opening up AT&T U-verse receivers to developers to enable development of multi-screen applications that interact in the home with U-verse TV, which had 3.6 million subscribers and $7 billion in annualized revenue as of third quarter 2011.
“We’re taking the hottest TV product and we’re marrying it with the hottest mobile technology,” Christopher said. “This will create great opportunities for developers and benefits for our customers.”
In addition AT&T announced the availability of the new Application Resource Optimizer (ARO), a tool that can help applications run faster, use less power and consume bandwidth more efficiently.
“ARO tackles a fundamental coding challenge developers face today-finding and fixing performance and power bottlenecks that detract from a great user experience,” said Jeff Bradley, senior vice president of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets, in a statement. “But even if you’re not a developer, this matters. ARO can help developers create apps that conserve battery life, load pages faster and consume network resources in a smarter way. This reduces the potential for network congestion and can save customers’ money on their data plans.”
Throughout the two-day summit-held Jan. 8-9, AT&T emphasized that collaboration with the developer community is essential to creating the most innovative applications and best customer experiences.
“In a very direct way, we are in this together,” Christopher said in a statement. “Enabling developers to innovate is the best way we know to both drive growth – and improve our customers’ mobile broadband experience.”
In the spirit of collaboration, AT&T invited some of its partners to address the company’s developer audience.
Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, spoke briefly at the summit and gave the group his familiar refrain of “developers, developers, developers” as he talked up developer opportunity on Microsoft’s Windows Phone and Windows 8 platforms. Ballmer said the first Windows Phone LTE devices would be on AT&T.
“At Microsoft, we believe in creating developer opportunities,” Ballmer said. “There is no better time to be a developer on the Microsoft platform.”
Ballmer said Windows Phone, Windows 8, Windows Server and Windows Azure are all moving ahead in new directions and offering developers vast opportunities.
“We’re providing better and simpler environments for developers, he said. “Windows 8 will create unprecedented opportunities for developers. Successful apps will make more money on Windows and Windows Phone.”
Stephen Elop, CEO of Nokia, also addressed the AT&T developer audience. “We plan to hit the American market in a big way, with great LTE devices, great software and great partners,” he said.