AT&T plans for 2010: Android and Palm OS devices, App Store for non-smartphones

palmOS-devicesAT&T plans to launch its first five Android-based handsets in the first half of 2010, two WebOS devices, and a new mobile application platform for non-smartphones.

The devices include a Motorola smartphone powered by MOTOBLUR, its social networking software; Dell’s first smartphone, the Mini 3 — an AT&T exclusive; and a new HTC handset also exclusive to AT&T.

Palm announced it will release two new WebOS-based handsets on the Verizon Wireless network on Jan. 25: the Pre Plus and the Pixi Plus.
The Pixi Plus has been presented as the “perfect first smartphone.” The thin and lightweight starter handset is the same as its predecessor, though the new model includes Wi-Fi. Prices for both devices were not revealed. Both devices will have the Palm Mobile Hotspot software, which will allow the them to be used as a mobile hotspot, in the same fashion as a MiFi. Palm also announced high profile brand name games including Sims 3, Tetris and Need for Speed Undercover are coming to its App Catalog. Full 3D demos from EA franchises were shown, and were apparently ported to the device within “a matter of weeks.” The games run on the existing Sprint Palm Pre.

AT&T also revealed its “Apps to All” initiative, which aims to bring mobile applications beyond smartphones and to more basic mobile phones for all consumers. A new software development kit will be issued to encourage this. The BREW mobile platform will begin appearing on the company’s Quick Messaging Devices in the second half of the year. AT&T hopes that 90 percent of its devices in that segment will be based on BREW by 2011.

“Today, developers must essentially rebuild apps for different handsets and operating systems, increasing their costs, slowing the pace of innovation and stalling the delivery of mobile apps to customers,” said David Christopher, AT&T chief marketing officer. “We want to tear down the barriers and make it much easier for developers to reach our customers — and for our customers to access apps.”