updated 03:35 pm EST, Fri November 7, 2008
ATT on No Android
AT&T is investigating Google's Android platform but ironically won't adopt it as it isn't sufficiently open, company wireless chief Ralph de la Vega tells the San Francisco Chronicle. He acknowledges that the carrier has considered adopting an Android-based phone but that the mobile operating system needs more third-party software to be open enough for it to be an option. Although open-source, too much of the current software feature set is limited to what Google offers, the executive says.
The impression is a mixed blessing for Google, which loses an immediate customer but now has the possibility of a fourth carrier option for Android in the US. T-Mobile is currently the only option for an Android-based phone in the country but will ultimately be joined by Sprint and Verizon in the future. Until now, AT&T has largely avoided the topic.
De la Vega's observation also partly contradicts AT&T's approach to the iPhone, which it picked up despite no support for third-party apps. The provider later justified it through a rate increase to full smartphone levels with the iPhone 3G, saying the earlier device wasn't a true smartphone until its replacement came with native third-party app support out of the box.
On the Apple device, de la Vega also downplays any short-term possibility of a price cut and says its $199 entry price is still a 'great value' for users. The iPhone has come under moderate pressure from competitors like the $179 T-Mobile G1 or the $129 Samsung Instinct for Sprint, but has also enjoyed significantly larger sales than either of these devices.