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Android Finally Cracks AT&T Lineup


March 09, 2010

Android Finally Cracks AT&T Lineup

By David Sims
TMCnet Contributing Editor


AT&T now has the Google (News - Alert) Android platform on its portfolio of mobile devices.

Not that champagne corks are flying. 'AT&T ruins the experience yet again with what Android and Me reports as the most crippled Android experience with the Motorola Backflip,' writes industry observer Matthew Miller.

'It is an older generation device with the 528 MHz processor and older version of the Google Android OS,' Miller writes, adding that 'we also heard recently about the odd replacement of Google Search with Yahoo! Search by AT&T… it is very strange to have a Google Android device without Google as the default search engine.'

You'll remember, of course, that AT&T is the exclusive provider of the Apple iPhone (News - Alert) in the United States. Later this year it's expected to add devices based on Palm's WebOS as well, according to Tony Bradley, co-author of Unified Communications (News - Alert) for Dummies.

'Since the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, the fortunes and pitfalls of AT&T seem to rely almost exclusively on that one platform,' Bradley writes, noting that while AT&T offers a range of mobile devices, such as feature phones, BlackBerry devices and smartphones based on the Windows Mobile platform, 'it is the iPhone that gets all of the attention -- both good and bad.'

The launch of the Motorola Droid, along with what Bradley sees as 'the massive marketing campaign Verizon (News - Alert) unleashed to promote it, threw down a thinly-veiled, not-so-subtle attack on the shortcomings of the iPhone,' mainly by attacking the weaknesses of the AT&T wireless network behind the iPhone.

Verizon wasn't angling for a piece of the iPhone pie, of course, we're sure they had no interest whatsoever in getting some of that business for themselves. Nevertheless, Apple (News - Alert) decided not only to continue their exclusive arrangement, but give AT&T all the iPad work as well. And now Google Android as well.

However, Bradley cautions, it's not all that it's cracked up to be -- the Motorola Backflip 'is no Droid. It is not as compelling as the Droid or Nexus One.' He thinks that while it's cheaper than the more capable iPhone 3GS, 'it doesn't seem to provide the same value, and won't fill that void for AT&T customers that are envious of the Droid or Nexus One.' Plus as Miller says, you can't get rid of all the AT&T bloatware on the phone. “Hopefully the Backflip will be the first of many Android devices.'

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Patrick Barnard

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