Though they’re a little late, Ralph de la Vega, CEO of AT&T, announced that the wireless carrier will launch five new Android smartphones in the first half of 2010. Dell, HTC, and Motorola are the manufacturers of these new phones, and we’re told that three of the five phones will be exclusive to AT&T. The mystery of the Dell device was solved today when the computer giant released the Mini 3, their new smartphone previously available only in China and Brazil. Details on the specs of this phone are still a little sketchy since Dell hasn’t officially released any information, but we can gather from images that it is a full touchscreen phone. (The model sold in China is said to have a 3.5-inch, 640x360 display).
We can assume that the Motorola device is or will be something similar to the recently released Motorola Backflip. Seeing as how the AT&T Press Release described the Motorola phone as having a “unique form factor” and the Backflip is probably the most unique thing I’ve seen in a while, this is more than likely a safe bet. The device will be based on Android and powered by MOTOBLUR. So expect a Motorola Cliq but kind of weird-looking. If it is the Backflip, it will be running Android 2.1 along with all of Motorola's other Android phones.
As for the HTC device(s), we’re not really sure. We assume that since there are five new devices coming and Dell and Motorola have only claimed two spots, HTC will claim the remaing three, by either releasing three totally new phones or taking models they’ve designed for other carriers and switching up the form factor for AT&T. There is some speculation that one of these phones could be an AT&T version of the Nexus One.
To follow up on the Android release, AT&T has set up a new page for consumers: www.att.com/android.
There weren’t a lot of details released on the new WebOS devices, but we’re assuming he’s talking about the Palm Pre and Pixi. I mean, these are the only two WebOS devices on the market right now and it’s doubtful that Palm will surprise us with two new ones. However, stranger things have happened. (Remember when Furbys came out? Tell me that didn't totally catch you off guard.)
Along with new smartphones, AT&T has also launched “a major initiative to expand the universe of mobile applications beyond smartphones to more mobile phones”. This so-called “Apps for All” program will give developers the initiative and tools they need to create apps, not only for the iPhone or other prominent smartphones, but Quick Messaging phones as well. AT&T will do this by working with Qualcomm and adopting the BREW Mobile Platform to standardize apps development. Instead of developers only creating apps compatible with one phone or being forced to develop several versions of an app for wide usage, BREW, which will be featured on all new AT&T Quick Messaging Devices by the end of 2010 or early 2011, will allows developers to create a single app that can be available to millions of users on several different devices. As a way of solidifying this promise, AT&T announced a new SDK which is available today.
Not only that, but AT&T will work with these developers, giving them technical support via live chat, a 70/30 split of revenue for third-party developers, a virtual network called Sandbox that will give developers a place to test their apps, and the Developer Dashboard, which will allow developers to track the progress of their apps, set prices, and receive vital performance stats.
All in all, it’s clear that AT&T takes their role in the cellular industry seriously. No longer will it be just one phone that has access to thousands of apps while the rest are left in the dark. They’ve also given their customers more choices when deciding on which models and operating systems to use. It’s a big step for the wireless giant, and quite frankly it’s nice to know that they aren’t content with providing only one option to their customers, but branching out and even improving the products they already have.
Now if only they could fix that “dropped calls” problem