At this point, you've probably heard that starting tomorrow, it will become illegal to unlock your smartphone to use it on another carrier. You certainly should have heard so since the decision was made three months ago. That being said, there are still quite a few questions that folks want to have answered. Chief among them, 'How does this affect me?' Well, I'm glad you asked, dear reader.
For a bit of context, first, let's take a look at exactly what has changed.
AT&T has a problem on its hands. It's big, but is it big enough? If you're a CEO of a major corporation the answer to that question is always "no." However, the carrier has difficulty expanding on the home front. An overwhelming majority of U.S. citizens have phones with one carrier or another, so there's very little wiggle room to grab new customers. And gaining in market share when you (and all your competitors!) are dead set on locking people into two-year contracts is very difficult.
Up until this point, if you wanted to get the 3G version of the Nexus 7 in the US, it appeared that AT&T was the only option. Now, however, Google has provided a T-Mobile version on the Play Store. This model comes pre-loaded with a T-Mo SIM. According to the tech specs, though, they're functionally identical. This will just save you the trouble if you prefer magenta over blue and orange, I suppose.
If you've been eyeing the HSPA+ version of Google's Nexus 7, AT&T is now offering you a little incentive. If you buy a Nexus 7 with 3G and agree to a 2-year data plan contract, AT&T will give you a $100 bill credit. It's not the best deal in mobile, but if you're planning to stick with AT&T for a while it's free money. What? You're going to turn your nose up at free?
Back in September, Samsung announced a new ruggedized mid-ranger for AT&T: the Galaxy Rugby Pro. Now, that phone you probably don't remember is getting Jelly Bean. It's pretty weird.
The update, which bumps this rough-and-tumble handset up to Android 4.1, brings many good things for the device, like Google Now and Project Butter, but it also includes some other enhancements and fixes:
Camera enhancements: New live camera and camcorder filters offer a range of camera effects, pause and resume while recording a video
Pop Up Play update: Easily resize or pause the Pop Up Play picture-in-picture video window.
T-Mobile may be done with the idea of carrier subsidies, but AT&T is ready to just pile them on. In the category of 7" tablets, Lenovo's A2107 is not too bad of a deal. Some specs don't quite match up to the N7; for example the screen is a little lower resolution, it only runs Android 4.0, and the processor is a little less powerful. However, where those aspects lack, this slate makes up for it with front and rear cameras and a 3G radio at a lower introductory price point.
Drop this one in the "noteworthy, but not notable" bucket, but we had some time last night to check out AT&T's Pantech Discover, a phone with a pretty impressive specification sheet given its price point - just $50 on contract.
The Discover has a 4.8" 720p display, 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor, 16GB of internal storage, 12.6MP rear camera, LTE, and runs Android 4.0 (OK, that's a bit of a miss). While we wouldn't call this a groundbreaking device in and of itself, the price AT&T will be peddling this particular piece of hardware at is going to make it a very attractive option for the brick-and-mortar crowd (eg, your parents).
Movies are fantastic. Not all movies, per se – but the idea of movies. They can transport us into other worlds, get to visit places we may never otherwise see, have the chance to relive world-changing events, and so much more all from the comfort of a seat. With that – have you seen Texas Chainsaw 3D? It's definitely worth watching.
But I digress. This isn't about my obsession with the TCM series, oh no – it's about AT&T.
Pantech hasn't been going after the bigger manufacturers in the "superphone" category, at least outside of its home turf of South Korea. Until today, that is - at its CES press conference, AT&T announced the Pantech Discover, a flagship-class device that meets and in some cases beats the best that Samsung, HTC and Motorola have to offer. In addition to somewhat typical high-end specs like a 4.8-inch 720p screen, 1.5Ghz dual-core processor and 16GB of on-board memory, the Discover boasts a best-in-class camera (at least on paper) of 12.6 megapixels.
Welcome to Android Police's live coverage of the 2013 AT&T Developer Summit keynote. I know, a carrier keynote? Why? But you may be surprised to learn that AT&T used this event last year to announce six Android devices. Yeah, so this one might actually be kind of important. Definitely expect to see some new AT&T Android hardware (we aren't exactly expecting six devices, but hey, you never know), and follow along with the liveblog below.