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AT&T on Android absence, no iPhone price cut

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.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Open vs. Closed

    So does this person understand the difference between an "open" and "closed" platform? OS X is a closed platform, all of the goodies you are going to get on initial start up are there already. With an open source model, one must wait for the applications to be developed. So, if there are not the applications to render the item (in this case a phone) useful, then there is no reason to carry it. The model is so far removed from the iPhone as to be ludicrous.

  1. WiseWeasel

    Joined: Dec 1969


    that sound you hear...

    That sound you hear is that of several hundred heads simultaneously exploding over at the Google campus... Talk about a red herring.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Open vs. closed

    Um, no. A closed platform does not, by default, include all the goodies, while an open one requires you to wait for applications.

    h***, the iPhone had like a dozen 'apps' when it launched. That was "all the goodies"?

    Everything he's saying is just complete bull.

    but that the mobile operating system needs more third-party software to be open enough for it to be an option.

    So he says there needs to be more third-party applications to be 'open enough'.

    What the h*** does 'open enough' mean, anyway? Is it that if Android was closed, then it would be fine, but because it is 'open', it needs to be more 'open' NOW!

    Although open-source, too much of the current software feature set is limited to what Google offers, the executive says.

    OK, so let's differentiate this to the iPhone a year ago. The iPhone was a 'closed' system, and the software feature set was limited to what Apple offers.

    So, I guess the entire problem here is Google made the platform open. If they closed it, they'd be all over it. But since it is an 'open' platform, they need more third-parties.

    Why can't they just come out and say "We looked at it, we like the possibilities, but it just isn't an option at the moment."

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    And why do reporters keep asking the carriers whether they plan on making an Android phone? Last time I checked, carriers sold phones, they didn't manufacture them.

    And if Samsung, say, makes a SIM-based phone, AT&T doesn't have to 'adopt' it, people can just freakin' buy one and use it on the network.

  1. dimmer

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Probably as the carriers provide the up-front money to make the handset price attractive. Also I'd guess that carriers only support hardware they sell, not all and anything with a SIM socket.

    Not that this is a good thing, but it's reasonable vendor policy.

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