It appears AT&T has officially given its blessings for Android users to begin downloading apps from third-party application developers, including application stores like the Amazon Application Store for Android.
AT&T sent out a notice to developers yesterday acknowledging the move, pointing to the Samsung Infuse 4G as the first of its Android devices to ship with the option for users to enable the downloading of third-party apps.
“Over the next few weeks, we will also roll out this capability to existing devices in our base for which an upgrade is possible. Users will not need to take any action as their phone will receive the update automatically,” read the statement.
The inability for AT&T users to download apps from third-party sources, also called “sideloading,” has been a point of contention with Android users on AT&T’s network for some time now and appeared to come to a head in March when Amazon launched its application store.
The new functionality will come in the form of a firmware update. A spokesman for AT&T confirmed that users will not need to take any action as their phone will receive the update automatically.
The update provides the option for users to go into settings and allow third-party applications; if they do not change this feature, they will not be at risk from malicious third-party apps, according to a spokesman.