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Android and WebOS join the iPhone network

Jan 7, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

AT&T announced plans to launch five Android devices from Dell, HTC, and Motorola in the first half of the year, as well as two Palm WebOS phones, say reports. In separate announcements, AT&T and T-Mobile said they had completed upgrades to provide HSPA 7.2 service across their 3G networks, says eWEEK.

AT&T, which has prospered in the smartphone market with its exclusive U.S. distribution of the Apple iPhone, is now hoping the magic will extend to Android and WebOS. The carrier confirmed Michael Dell's acknowledgement that it would sell Dell's first Android smartphone for the U.S. market, and announced it would carry Android phones by Motorola and HTC, as well as two Palm WebOS phones, say a number of reports, including one from MobileBurn.

In October, Dell's CEO confirmed that AT&T would carry a modified version of Dell's "Mini 3i" Android phone (pictured at right), which is now being offered in China by China Mobile. AT&T has never before offered Android or WebOS phones, although last year the company had suggested it was looking into offering the WebOS-based Palm Pre.

At a CES press conference yesterday, AT&T CEO Ralph de la Vega said that AT&T is making a big push for Android, and admitted that the carrier is late to adopt the operating system, says MobileBurn. The Android phones will be new models and be offered exclusively by AT&T in the U.S., mimicking its approach with the iPhone, says the story.

The new Motorola phone will feature the MotoBlur UI stack which is currently available with the Motorola Cliq, de la Vega was reported as saying. HTC has said it will roll out a number of new Android phones this year, and started early with the Google-branded Nexus One, which was announced on Tuesday.

De la Vega reportedly did not mention which Palm WebOS devices would be offered. Currently, Palm is selling the Palm Pre (pictured at left) and the scaled-down Palm Pixi, but it would not be surprising if a follow-up phone running the Linux-based WebOS is announced in the coming months. Currently, the Pre and Pixi are offered only on Sprint's network, but Verizon Wireless is expected to soon announce modified versions of the phones called the Palm Pre Plus and the Pixi Plus for its own network.

AT&T and T-Mobile announce HSPA 7.2 upgrades

This week, AT&T and T-Mobile both announced they had completed upgrades enabling them to support HSPA 7.2 on their respective 3G networks, say two separate Michelle Maisto stories in eWEEK. The move to HSPA 7.2 positions the carriers for an eventual move to LTE (Long Term Evolution), or 4G technology, writes Maisto.

Today, AT&T announced it is working on increasing the number of high-speed backhaul connections to its cell sites, says the story. Combined with the software upgrades to HSPA 7.2, these deployments will potentially be able to support theoretical peak maximum speeds of 7.2Mbps. According to the story, AT&T offers ten different devices, including the iPhone 3G S, which are 7.2-capable, and which should be able to leverage the faster connections. The addition of new Android and WebOS phones would expand its HSPA-ready stable even further.

AT&T's backhaul initiatives are under way in Charlotte, N.C., Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, and Miami, writes Maisto. The carrier is said to anticipate that the majority of its mobile data traffic will be carried over the expanded fiber-based, HSPA 7.2-capable backhaul by the end of 2010, with deployments continuing into 2011. AT&T plans to trial LTE this year, and begin deploying the technology in 2011, says the story.

According to a story posted Tuesday by Maisto, T-Mobile announced that it, too, had completed an upgrade to HSPA 7.2 across its 3G network. According to Maisto, T-Mobile plans to be the first to launch HSPA+, a 3.5G technology that is said to offer speeds competitive with some early tests of LTE and WiMAX.

Earlier this year, Verizon Wireless announced it would launch 30 LTE networks in 2010, while working up to nationwide coverage in 2013, and on Dec. 14, Ericsson and carrier TeliaSonera launched the world's first LTE network, in Stockholm, Sweden, writes Maisto.

On Dec. 21, AT&T told the Federal Communications Commission that it would like to phase out its landline business to focus its assets on developing its broadband and IP-based communications business, writes Maisto. (Perhaps those Verizon Wireless "map" commercials disparaging AT&Ts 3G network, which came out around the release of the Droid by Motorola, are having an effect after all.)


The MobileBurn story on the AT&T Android and Palm WebOS announcement should be here, and an eWEEK story on the same topic should be here.

The eWEEK story on the AT&T HSPA 7.2 rollouts should be here, and yesterday's eWEEK story on T-Mobile's HSPA 7.2 push should be here.

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