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AT&T Backing Off On Android Policies?

AT&T may finally be releasing their hold regarding Android application, along with opening the road so Amazon can compete against the Android Market fairly. Also when AT&T’s latest Android device was announced, the Samsung Infuse 4G, AT&T also enhanced the “4G label” claiming that 14.4Mbps will have HSPA applied to it.

AT&T has been in charge of slowing the message of 4G for quite sometime now especially with Verizon expanding to LTE and T-Mobile who  also jumped on board and were given a welcomed boost by ITU, which was added to the 4G family.

AT&T is now narrowing the 4G definition with the help of Jeff Bradley who was quoted saying, ” Any 14.4Mbps device qualifies, as long as it is supported by high speed backhaul.” During the launch of the Samsung Infuse 4G Bradley also said, ” Our tests show that 4G experiences happen with Cat-10 devices, or 14.4Mbps … combined with fast backhaul. That’s the key. It’s got to be a combination of the two.” That experience consists of “faster downlink, faster loading of pages and apps should be snappier.”

As many customers are well aware must carriers like Verizon and T-Mobile limit 4G to speeds of 21Mbps and higher, and while this marketing technique has been pretty confusing for the average consumer it is about to become more confusing now that both AT&T and Verizon are labeling all their “high end” smartphones 4G to help not only boost sells but to make a point concerning 4G.

Bradely has also been heard saying that only one third of AT&T’s traffic will be or is already on the 21Mbps HSPA+ speeds by later this year. Two thirds will be on these speeds by the end of this year, but AT&T has a different strategy for rolling out their 4G speeds. Instead of doing it city by city like carriers such as T-Mobile, AT&T is doing it by the areas that have the most traffic, this being the reason why they are stretching the truth on 4G speeds.

At first, AT&T’s two most popular devices the Atrix and Inspire did not support the HSUPA speeds. However, AT&T is quickly issuing a patch to fix this issue with the devices so they will be capable of the faster speeds.

Along with changing the definition of 4G, AT&T’s newest device, the Infuse 4G, is most known for having a new approach to the Android app stores that are being released rapidly. At first AT&T had blocked purchases from app stores besides the Google Android Market of course. However, now they are loosing up their grip on choosing which app store users can download applications from and are now supporting the sideloading of third part applications from such places as the Amazon Appstore. This is all according to the Android Community blog.

This newest move shows how quickly and fast Amazon is stealing the thunder from Google’s Android Market. By Amazon providing an approval process that falls in between Apple’s tight fisted approach and the lack of approval in other app stores Amazon is making a name for themselves quickly and without fear. One reason why AT&T, at first, stuck with the Android Market versus the Amazon Appstore is due to the risks involved when it comes to third party applications.  However, AT&T explained their point of view on their website so everyone knew where they stood on the issue.

“AT&T selected Android Market as the exclusive source for applications because it forces developers to be accountable for the apps they submit … This minimizes the risk of malicious apps harming customers and provides more protection to the customer’s private data stored on the phone.”

It is quite interesting to see the changes that AT&T is making regarding not only the ability to side load applications and the choices of app stores, but also on their definition of 4G speeds. We will be sure to keep you posted on any new changes that are made.


ReThink Wireless

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