The most profound announcements made on the first day of the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show was, by far, made by AT&T. The carrier is hosting its annual developers' summit in Las Vegas and made a bevy of announcements today including new HTML5 APIs for developers, six new Android phones and one, enormous, Windows Phone, a partnership with an important cloud operator. Like Verizon, AT&T is making a push to give developers tools to make dynamic new apps intimately tied to the carrier's service and platform.
What AT&T Announced
New API Platform: Ma Bell is getting into mobile development in a big way. AT&T is releasing a catalog of new APIs for HTML5 development that will allow publishers tools for messaging, location-based services, advertising and payments. The platform will offer AT&T in-app direct carrier billing that developers can use to monetize their apps outside of the normal channels through the Android Market or Apple App Store. It will ultimately be available across mobile platforms and devices.
AppCenter for Android: AT&T will preload a widget on select Android devices that showcases a carousel highlighting quality apps from developer partners and the carrier itself. The Featured Apps widget will be available in the Android Market as well.
The AppCenter will feature both HTML5 and Android apps with the notion of enhancing app discovery along with the profile of apps made by AT&T. Call it the newest generation of bloatware to invade your Android device.
Application Resource Optimizer for Android: Also known as ARO, the Application Resource Optimizer is intended to enhance battery life for processor intensive Android apps. AT&T says that Pandora Radio is one of the first companies to benefit from the ARO. The best part of the ARO is that it is not just tied to AT&T but can be used by any app on any carrier's network.
Mobile Application Management via Apperian: AT&T has signed an exclusive deal with MAM provider Apperian in the United States. AT&T's Mobile Application Management works much like other MAM offerings in that it provides the ability to distribute, manage, analyze and secure apps within and enterprise network. It includes a cloud-based enterprise app store for IT managers to distribute apps to employees and gain visibility into how workers are using those apps.
Cloud Architect With OpenStack: AT&T is becoming the first U.S. telecommunications provider to join the OpenStack initiative. The OpenStack capabilities will be housed within three of the carrier's data centers in Dallas, San Diego and Seacaucus, New Jersey. The open-source cloud option will give developers and enterprises a way to tie their apps to the cloud in either public or private profiles and AT&T will supply the code to help publishers take advantage of cloud capabilities.
Update note: The AT&T Cloud Architect is a distinctly different product from the OpenStack initiative.
Devices, Devices, Devices: What would CES be if there were not a million new devices announced? The big one, literally, is the HTC Titan II, a Windows Phone running Mango 7.5 with a 1.5 GHz processor and a 16-megapixel camera. Yeah, 16-megapixels. CES: Now with more eye-popping specs. Nokia's CEO Stephen Elop also said that AT&T will get the company's first LTE Windows Phone.
Two Windows Phones? Bah, Android says. AT&T announced six new Android devices (five phones and a tablet) some of which will be LTE and NFC capable. The highlight of the group is the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket HD which is essentially a Galaxy Nexus device dressed up in AT&T's clothing. The Galaxy Note from Samsung will be the featured tablet coming out for AT&T later this year. In a twist of what consumers expect from smartphones, the Samsung Exhilarate is made from 80% recycled post-consumer material. Pantech will also have two Android phones for AT&T, both sporting LTE. Sony is also bringing the Xperia ion to the carrier.
Closing The Gap ... For Now
AT&T may have been the first carrier to have the iPhone but in many ways it has been trailing Verizon in a variety of developer and enterprise verticals. Verizon announced its own enterprise management and app store at CTIA Enterprise & Apps in San Diego last October. Big Red also has two developer centers, one on each coast of the U.S. A hardware specific developer center is located in Massachusetts while a innovation center for mobile developers is located down by the piers in the financial district of San Francisco.
Verizon still has the lead when it comes to LTE deployment but AT&T is pouring billions of dollars into broadband investment and announced 11 new cities to get the "4G" network last week. Verizon is also no longer the preeminent domain of all things Android as AT&T will soon have a robust line of comparable devices.
Developers: Has AT&T impressed you today or is this just another "me too" series of announcements from the carrier? Let us know what you think in the comments.