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Device operating systems

AT&T to Serve More Brew

SAN DIEGO -- Uplinq -- AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is committed to including the Brew Mobile Platform (MP) operating system in its upcoming Quick Messaging Devices (QMDs), AT&T chief marketing officer David Christopher promised attendees at the Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) Uplinq conference yesterday.

Latin American mobile operator America Movile, which counts AT&T as a shareholder, will also be launching Brew MP devices nearly identical to AT&T's versions in an effort to expand the potential market.

Without unveiling specific devices, Christopher said AT&T will have 10 additional QMDs within the next year, each one sporting hardware and software features like next-gen messaging, address book backup, GPS, and accelerometers. In an effort to simplify things for developers, AT&T will also enable carrier billing on all its storefronts and allow developers to set their own pricing.

AT&T will also support Java in addition to Brew, Christopher said.

To date, one-third of AT&T's devices are QMDs, a text-centric category that falls between smartphones and feature phones. The carrier's QMD sales last year outdistanced all other carriers' combined sales of Windows Mobile, Palm, or Symbian devices, according to Christopher.

While this device category has been successful for AT&T, he said it's been hindered by fragmentation -- hence, his presence at Uplinq. "Brew MP is absolutely critical to execute this strategy, but we're not starting from scratch."

Most developers are already familiar with Brew, and Brew MP is even better in functionality, memory, processing, and power, while being backwards-compatible, he said.

AT&T first announced its commitment to Brew MP in January at the Consumer Electronics Show, when it said that by the end of 2011, about 90 percent of AT&T's QMD devices would have Qualcomm's OS on board. Christopher said one of the advantages of working with the carrier is its pre-approval process, which will let developers submit their apps before the Brew app store goes live, so that they're up and running when it is.

AT&T is also on track to open three Centers of Innovation in the West, Midwest, and internationally. AT&T CTO Jon Donovan chimed in via a pre-recorded video to reiterate AT&T's goal to create open and collaborative environments between the carrier and the developers at these centers.

"We are focused on fostering innovation for applications and services that take advantage of AT&T's cloud service capabilities, new devices for enabling technologies, and emerging capabilities that could one day ride over AT&T's network," Donovan said.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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