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AT&T to developers: We will reduce fragmentation

LAS VEGAS–AT&T Mobility President and CEO Ralph de la Vega used the company’s annual mobile developer event here to announce the company’s four-pronged approach to strengthening its wireless business. The conference, held at the Palms Casino and Resort the day prior to the opening of the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show, attracted more than 1,000 mobile developers–nearly three times the number that the event attracted in the past.

Specifically, de la Vega said AT&T wants to help developers by reducing all the fragmentation that makes mobile app development so expensive and difficult. De la Vega said AT&T will strengthen its smartphone portfolio by supporting all the various mobile operating systems. He said the carrier would help developers sell more apps by supporting all the major OEM app stores, and by offering apps to consumers who own mid-level wireless devices (not smartphones). Finally, de la Vega said the firm will strengthen its app developer program and continue to invest in its network.

AT&T plans to launch five exclusive smartphones that support Google’s Android operating system (see related story here) from Dell, Motorola and HTC, and it also will launch two devices running Palm’s webOS operating system. Those webOS devices will be exclusive to AT&T and will be announced later this year.

Regarding app stores, de la Vega said the company will support all app stores from the major OEMs, and will provide technical support for those app stores. In addition, AT&T customers who buy apps from Nokia’s Ovi storefront will be billed directly through AT&T.

But perhaps the most surprising news from AT&T was that it will use Qualcomm’s BREW MP platform to allow consumers with mid-level messaging devices to buy applications. “We want to make apps available to a bigger segment of the market,” de la Vega said. He added that by 2011, AT&T expects 90 percent of new AT&T messaging devices to sport the BREW MP platform.

A new AT&T SDK is available for the BREW platform. And BREW MP will be backward compatible, making it easier for existing BREW developers to transition to BREW MP.

AT&T currently supports Java applications for feature phones.

According to David Christopher, the chief marketing officer of AT&T Mobility, the company also is developing a new storefront strategy, call the App Center, which will focus on discoverability and offer direct-carrier billing. Specifically, AT&T is offering a 70/30 revenue share for all new contracts.

For more:
– see this release
– see this Ovi release

Related articles:
Rumor Mill: Is Motorola making AT&T’s first Android phone?
Rumor Mill: AT&T prepping Android assault
AT&T declines Moto’s Android advances?
Report: AT&T may launch Dell Android phone in 2010

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    Sue Marek

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