AT&T has taken a lot of heat from Android fans, and for good reason - they were the last of the four major US carriers to truly embrace it, and even then they made the controversial decision to block users' ability to sideload apps - i.e., install apps not offered on the Android Market. Their intentions were only to protect users from "bad apps," but of course this also meant that users have been unable to install any type of beta apps or, more notably, the Amazon App Store. Fortunately, they plan to reverse this decision going forward, as Senior VP of Mobile Devices Jeff Bradley announced:
"I think we'll go more open. First and foremost we were genuinely concerned from a network bandwidth standpoint and a customer experience standpoint for not having any mechanism to take down a bad app. And the only way we could do it at the time was relying on Google to leverage what [security] they had in [the] Android Marketplace. We took a lot of negative publicity for doing it, but it was 100 percent driven by a desire to be able to have the ability to support our network and be able to help our customers. It really was."
As we can see in the upcoming Infuse 4G, AT&T won't be making anybody wait too long for these more open devices, but there has been no word on the possibility of older devices receiving updates that enable the ability to sideload apps. But given AT&T's promptness in delivering updates for its newer phones (such as the Atrix and Inspire 4G) it is still certainly in the realm of possibility.