CHICAGO -- AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is opening up a new store-cum-mobile playground on Michigan Avenue here in the Windy City. It's the first -- and only planned -- brand store of its kind.
The carrier will open up shop on Saturday, but Light Reading Mobile got a sneak peak of the 10,000 square-foot Magnificent Mile storefront this week. Click on the image below to launch a slide show of the new digs.
All about the apps
As you'll see from the pictures, AT&T's store takes a few cues from longtime partner Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) -- no cash registers, Geniuses versus Brand Ambassadors, and lots of interactivity. But, AT&T isn't out just to sell devices. It's focusing keenly on the mobile software experience. Devices are used as a way to showcase the apps that can run on them.
That's why you won't see Long Term Evolution (LTE) branding anywhere like you might at a Verizon Wireless store. And, each station lists the apps and services you can use on the devices that are on display.
AT&T North Central Regional President Kent Mathy said that this flagship store won't push any particular technology nor will it do special promotions. So, if AT&T strikes another marketing deal, such as the the one it put together with Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) for the Lumia 900, the special promotions wouldn't apply here. Presumably, the same would be true for the next iPhone. (See Lumia Loses Luster Despite AT&T Marketing Push.)
"We're not playing up any technology or device," Mathy said. "It's just what the devices can do for you. Other stores may have a particular goal, but here it is to learn."
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile