With AT&T’s strangle-hold on the iPhone finally loosened, Ma Bell has lost a huge advantage in the US mobile market. For years now the company’s success has ridden on Apple’s iconic device. And with subscribers flocking to their network for that one device alone, AT&T has shown a rather cold shoulder to just about everyone else — especially Android. Not only has the company neglected to invest in many high-end Android devices, but the ones they do acquire are locked down leaving basic features unavailable to users. Well according to AT&T’s Chief Marketing Officer David Christopher, that’s all about to change.
Denying any relation towards the loss of the iPhone, in an interview with All Things D, David Christopher says the recent move towards Android has been in making for months now, backed by a need for faster moving technology to pair with AT&T’s network. He says AT&T has been working closely with Google to bring about the best devices available: “They create highly functional, highly capable smartphones that run really well with our network. That hits the sweet spot of our network.” That sweet spot is presumably 4G compatibility, something T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon have all relied on Android for.
Christopher also says that AT&T is not concerned with bogging down the OS with custom software and changes: “We don’t think we have to control every element of the smartphone at all. Our strategy has been more to partner smartly and add value where we think we have the strongest assets to bring to bear.” The added values? Christopher points towards features like location based services and carrier billing as just some of the assets they’re going to be bringing to the table with the newest crop of Android devices.
One of the more interesting blurbs regarding upcoming devices was Christopher’s words on tablets, saying that sometime in the future AT&T would indeed receive their very own Motorla Xoom. Unfortunately, nothing more is known at this time. Nonetheless with the direction AT&T’s new lineup of devices is headed, it’s certainly going to make for an interesting year of competition in the mobile space — competition where the consumer always wins.
What do you think, is AT&T positioning itself for a strong 2011, or is it too little too late? Let us know in the comments below.