LIVE FROM CES 2014: AT&T used its 2014 Developer Summit here in Las Vegas to provide an update on its efforts to work with the developer community, including in markets such as automotive and wearables, but it was its Sponsored Data plan which drew most attention.
Summarising the various announcements made, Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T Mobility, claimed: “This is the kind of innovation that sets us apart both in the US and around the world.”
AT&T Sponsored Data
The Sponsored Data service sees usage charges for specific content and apps charged to a sponsoring company, which the operator said “is similar to freephone telephone numbers or free shipping for internet companies”.
It said that Sponsored Data will be delivered at the same speed and performance as non-sponsored content, in order to address potential issues related to net neutrality.
The operator highlighted opportunities in markets such as healthcare, retail, media & entertainment and financial services, offering “the opportunity to better engage with customers and their own employees”.
Examples cited included encouraging customers to try a new app; promoting movie trailers or games; providing patient healthcare support via wellness videos, and encouraging customers to browse mobile shopping sites.
The company also dedicated a significant amount of time to its efforts in the automotive space, following on from an event on Sunday which saw its work with General Motors highlighted.
It revealed the creation of an automotive R&D facility in Atlanta, accompanied by the introduction of a new brand for its platform efforts in this vertical – AT&T Drive.
The AT&T Drive Studio is said to feature working garage bays, a speech lab, a full showroom, conference facilities “and much more.” It is located near AT&T’s Atlanta Foundary facility, dedicated to “new wireless services, like the connected home, car and other consumer electronics”.
Companies committed to work alongside AT&T include Accenture, Amdocs, Clear Channel (iHeart Radio), Ericsson, Jasper Wireless, Synchronoss and VoiceBox.
Glenn Lurie, president of emerging enterprises and partnerships for AT&T, said: “This is about having a research hub for automobile innovation. It’s about having the most innovative place anywhere focused on the connected car.”
U-verse APIs for Android
AT&T announced open APIs for the Android platform that will enable developers to offer apps that integrate with its U-verse television service, following the earlier availability of similar tools for iOS.
According to the company, there are currently more than 5 million sessions of U-Verse enabled apps each month, noting: “when U-verse customers use our interactive apps, they’re more engaged and more satisfied with their experience.”
The APIs have been used by developer Splitmo, the creator of the Poker Night TV app, which was described as “the first multi-player gaming app available on U-verse”. The television is used to display common cards, pot and player positions, while individual cards are only displayed on the player’s device.
AT&T also announced a deal to offer ASUS’ Padfone X device exclusively in the Us, which includes a 5-inch full HD smartphone which also drives a 9-inch HD tablet, creating a “two in one” device.
de la Vega said: “This is the first smartphone we have launced from ASUS, and I couldn’t get more excited about it”.
Pricing, detailed specifications and availability will be announced “at a later date”.
Finally, the company said that with the launch of several new markets today, its 4G LTE network now covers more than 270 million people.
“The bottom line is our network has never performed better,” de la Vega said.