AT&T today had a few more surprises than usual at its annual Developer Summit, unveiling some slick new HSPA+-capable devices from Samsung, Motorola and HTC, while also announcing an acceleration of its LTE rollout plans.
In an opening keynote, Ralph de la Vega, AT&T’s president of Mobility and Consumer Markets, said that AT&T has deployed HSPA+ over 100 percent of its 3G footprint and promised its LTE rollout would be completed by the end of 2013.
“Our customers are going to have blazing fast LTE speeds and when they’re not on that network, they’re going to have blazing fast speeds on HSPA+,” de la Vega said.
As a way of proving its commitment to LTE, de la Vega went on to welcome executives from some major OEMs, each of which introduced a new smartphone. De la Vega said that AT&T will launch 20 new “4G-capable” devices in 2011.
Perhaps most notably, Sanjay Jha, chairman and CEO of Motorola Mobility, unveiled the Motorola Atrix 4G. The forthcoming smartphone is compatible with HSPA+ and is able to dock with a special laptop. Jha said the Atrix represents a “new paradigm” that fills the hole between the laptop, smartphone and tablet. The Atrix 4G has a dual-core processor that’s fast enough to power the laptop.
But the fireworks weren’t over. HTC President Peter Chou introduced the Inspire 4G smartphone, which featured a new version of the company’s Sense UI, and Samsung’s J.K. Shin was on hand to introduce the Samsung Infuse, which de la Vega said is the thinnest smartphone in the carrier’s portfolio. Both devices will be compatible with AT&T’s HSPA+ network.
The opening keynotes, aimed as they are at developers, stressed the benefits of next-generation networks to enable more robust applications. AT&T stressed integration with its other products, announcing the Alpha program that will open up APIs to its uVerse service. Developers can then use the set-top box as a server for storage and delivery of content.
Additionally, AT&T unveiled its first Brew MP-based quick messaging device, the HTC Freestyle. The carrier said that all quick messaging phones will be based on the Brew MP platform going forward.
And it wasn’t all about devices. The theme of the keynotes seemed to revolve around the idea of ubiquitous connectivity to any electronic device, with executives encouraging developers to think about creating applications for everything from automobiles to tablets and smartphones.
Aside from uVerse, AT&T also announced availability of an HTML5 SDK that will be available to developers in the form of a Beta program.
Glen Lurie, president of emerging devices, stressed that “anything with current running through it should be connected.”
“All these verticles – healthcare, automotive, location, navigation, tracking – are going to explode. These are huge opportunities for developers,” Lurie said.
Lurie praised the Amazon’s Kindle, for which AT&T provides 3G connectivity, as an example of a product that has “done it right.”
“Many Kindle users are unaware of how the content even got to their device … and the best part is that they don’t care, because it’s seamless … and customers love it,” Lurie said, noting that AT&T expects Amazon to sell 5 million Kindles in 2011 and 11.5 million in 2012.
In all, it was an exciting day for AT&T, which delivered the gadget goods on the eve of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which runs through Jan. 9. Wireless Week will be at Motorola’s press event later today, where the company is expected to show off its forthcoming tablet, as well as the Atrix 4G.
For more happenings at CES, check out our live blog from Las Vegas at www.wirelessweek.tumblr.com.