At its 2010 AT&T Developer Summit, AT&T announced a trial program with WaveMarket to make network location information accessible through Veriplace, WaveMarket’s cloud location aggregation platform.
AT&T announced a slew of initiatives aimed at increasing its penetration in the mobile phone space, including supporting multiple application stores. However, the partnership with WaveMarket is to help developers build location-aware applications for all major operating systems. WaveMarket’s Veriplace is used by more than 1,000 developers.
Veriplace allows SMS, Web, Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) and Interactive Voice Response (IVR) developers to develop location-aware apps and services across device categories and participating carriers. The trial program will launch in the coming weeks, AT&T officials said.
“Veriplace protects end-user privacy while offering application developers a single Web-service API to locate more than 100 million devices across multiple carriers,” said Tasso Roumeliotis, CEO of WaveMarket, in a statement. “We’re thrilled to be able to offer these innovative location-aware tools to developers working on applications for AT&T customers.”
As an example of how the service could work, a customer who signs up for a mobile weather application can give the application permission to send alerts about approaching storms or severe conditions based on the customer’s location, even when the customer may not have the app actively running on the handset, according to WaveMarket.
Yet, the Veriplace platform keeps customers in control of their location information, WaveMarket said. A customer’s location information is never released to an application without the user’s explicit permission, and end users of applications powered by Veriplace can manage privacy and security preferences without having to install special software on their devices, the company said. Customers can revoke permission for an application to locate them at any time.
Moreover, the agreement with AT&T makes Veriplace the only cloud location platform that provides developers with a single API for developing across multiple carriers.
New Android Phones, More Apps
AT&T also announced plans to launch five new Android-powered devices from Dell, HTC and Motorola in the first half of 2010, and the telecommunications giant said it plans to become a key destination for mobile phone users looking for applications.
At the AT&T Developer Summit in Las Vegas on Jan. 6, the company also announced a major initiative to expand the universe of mobile applications beyond smartphones to more mobile phones, and to spur future application development for emerging consumer electronics devices, its U-verse TV platform, and enterprise and small business workplaces.
“Applications help consumers realize the full value and benefits of mobile broadband networks, services and devices,” said Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets, in a statement. “Today some AT&T customers can take advantage of more than 100,000 apps-but only if they have the right handset. Our goal is to bring more apps to millions more of our customers who want convenient access to the market’s hottest apps. At the same time, in the future, we plan to go well beyond mobile devices to spur apps development.”
In addition to ultimately giving more customers more choices of applications, the long-term strategic initiatives announced today will make it easier for developers to cost-effectively create applications and reach broader audiences, and help AT&T drive data revenues, AT&T officials said.
Support for All App Stores
Support for All App Stores
AT&T also announced that it will offer all major app stores. That means that in addition to the apps enjoyed by users of the wildly popular Apple iPhone-which runs exclusively on the AT&T network-AT&T will provide other smartphone users with access to app stores that match their devices. AT&T will preload the corresponding store for each device. Today, AT&T added to existing agreements with Nokia for Ovi Store and Microsoft for Windows Marketplace by announcing an agreement for Android Market. The company will announce more app store agreements in the near future and will offer carrier billing as an easy and convenient payment option, AT&T officials said.
Meanwhile, according to PC Magazine:
““AT&T will then pick up a rather mysterious new HTC Android phone, as well as ‘two new smartphones from Palm,’ de la Vega said. While he didn’t give details on the Palm phones, he described them as having a ‘better 3G experience’ rather than being brand-new devices, which implies that they may be versions of the existing Palm Pre and Pixi. (Palm could still surprise us at its press conference tomorrow.)”‘I think AT&T can offer a better 3G experience for these devices and we’re very excited to have them as a part of our portfolio,’ de la Vega said.”“
Standardizing on BREW
De la Vega also announced a new agreement with Qualcomm to standardize applications development by adopting Qualcomm’s Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless (BREW) Mobile Platform. With this agreement, AT&T intends to make BREW Mobile Platform its primary operating system platform for Quick Messaging Devices, one of the company’s fastest-growing categories of devices.
Since AT&T launched its pioneering lineup of Quick Messaging Devices in fall 2008, about 30 percent of the company’s postpaid customers who are new or upgrading have purchased this type of device, according to an AT&T press release. And AT&T is committed to spurring innovation and apps development for the millions of customers in this category.
Quick Messaging Devices are integrated devices that are value-priced and texting-centric; they have full QWERTY keyboards, either physical or virtual, and, since this past fall, full Web browsing capabilities, AT&T said. Customers with these devices are more likely to demand apps, as well as subscribe to messaging and data plans, and are a large potential market for application developers, according to AT&T research.
AT&T Chief Marketing Officer David Christopher announced plans to begin rolling out Quick Messaging Devices with BREW Mobile Platform in the second half of the year, so that by year-end 2011, about 90 percent of AT&T’s devices in this segment are planned to be based on BREW Mobile Platform. AT&T announced that Samsung will be its first device maker to launch a Quick Messaging Device featuring BREW Mobile Platform. HTC, LG and Pantech also are building devices featuring BREW Mobile Platform for planned availability in late 2010 or early 2011.
“Today, developers must essentially rebuild apps for different handsets and operating systems, increasing their costs, slowing the pace of innovation and stalling the delivery of mobile apps to customers,” Christopher said in a statement. “We want to tear down the barriers and make it much easier for developers to reach our customers-and for our customers to access apps. Moving to one platform for this fast growing segment of devices will help developers reach millions more customers who want easy access to the hottest mobile apps.”
To help developers jump-start apps development for AT&T’s BREW Mobile Platform devices, Christopher announced a new AT&T SDK that features support for BREW Mobile Platform, continued support for Java and widgets, and tools to help developers tap into AT&T network capabilities as they design and code their applications. The new AT&T SDK is available now at sdk.developer.att.com.
Enhanced Developer Resources
For its part, AT&T also announced several enhancements to its developer program. According to an AT&T press release, these enhancements include:
- Technical support for developers via live chat-something no other carrier, operating system provider or handset maker offers today-and a tripling of overall tech support by mid-2010.
- Revenue share featuring a standardized 70/30 split for third-party developers in the AT&T App Center.
- AT&T Sandbox, a virtual network environment for developers to test and evaluate applications, which is planned to be available in the second quarter of 2010.
- AT&T Developer Dashboard, a tool that will let developers track the status of their apps once submitted to AT&T, support digital signing of business agreements with AT&T, allow developers to set prices for their apps, and provide performance metrics and customer satisfaction feedback. The dashboard is available now for enterprise application developers and the certification of emerging devices. And for AT&T’s consumer development community, the dashboard will provide needed automation, which is planned for the first quarter of 2010.
- AT&T Developer Council, an advisory group hosted by AT&T and made up of leading development and technology companies and other influencers, such as EA Games, Telenav and Bonfire Media.
In addition, AT&T Chief Technology Officer John Donovan said that a new AT&T Virtual Innovation Lab will open in Atlanta in the second quarter to provide developer support for speech, location and messaging APIs (application programming interfaces). In addition, two new Innovation Centers, one in the East and one in the West, are planned for late 2010 to provide 3G and 4G RF (radio frequency) development support, testing and demos.