News by Ricky Cadden on Wednesday April 02, 2008.
|Sponsored links, if any, appear in green.|
AT&T has announced that it will be bringing Microsoft's Surface Computing project to retail stores in select cities on April 17th. The Surface Computing project uses touch and proximity as inputs and promises to bring consumers a whole new way to shop for mobile handsets.
Using Surface, consumers will be able to simply place a handset on the Surface table display to instantly get a graphical list of that handset's features. Placing two devices will automatically bring up a side-by-side comparison of features and abilities. Information about plans, accessories, and features can also be brought up on the screen, and the on-screen info cards can be easily resized and moved about the table top with a finger or two. In the future, consumers might be able to use Surface to 'pick up' ringtones, backgrounds, or music and 'drop' it onto their device.
AT&T's CEO, Ralph de la Vega, said at today's press luncheon that he has used demos of the system that let users transfer phone contents from their existing handset to a new handset. The customer places their phone on the Surface table, its content gets downloaded to the table, and then the user can drag the content into a new device. Obviously there are some other technical features at play to allow this, but the prospect is exciting none the less.
AT&T plans to install 12 of the 30" Surface tables at select stores in New York, Atlanta, San Antonio, and San Francisco on April 17th, with more stores to follow eventually.
At the same press event, de la Vega also mentioned that all of AT&T's smart devices would be 3G in the future, adding "and I mean months." When pressed about whether this included the Apple iPhone, de la Vega merely repeated that "all" of them would be 3G, suggesting that the 3G iPhone will be with us soon. The AT&T CEO also indicated that after recently seeing more current Google Android based demos, the company now wants to ensure that Android devices will be available to its users. The last interesting point from the event was that AT&T reported that roughly as many users downgraded from more expensive plans to AT&T's new unlimited plans as did move up from less expensive plans. Ralph de la Vega said that the company has no plans to compete on price with Sprint, but that offering the unlimited plans was merely a way of giving customers more options.
Former news editor Ricky Cadden runs Symbian-Guru.com. Ricky is based in Texas.