You don't need a smartphone to get smartphone-like services, claims AT&T. They of course have a few new handsets backing up that boast, but what's most interesting is the free online syncing for both contacts and media.
Syncing contacts to your PC comes in the form of the AT&T Address Book, which backs up any change to a contact's details, offering two-way support for email addresses. The online interface of the Address Book also lets you send texts to other phone numbers—for free.
Backing up media is thanks to the AT&T Mobile Share service. Any photos and video taken on a phone can be sent back to a PC, or to other contacts or social site. Each customer automatically gets 250MB free online storage each month, but any extra and it's quite pricey, at $10 each month for 50 media transfers, or 35 cents for each transfer. Additional storage is $5 for an extra 10GB. Really, it'd be cheaper just signing up to Flickr, or connecting your phone to your computer whenever you've got a few photos to transfer.
Messaging has also been upgraded or non-smartphone users wanting a smartphone-like fix with the "Next Generation Messaging." Threaded and group messaging, the ability to "reply all" (only up to 10 numbers, though) and a consolidated inbox with a better interface for viewing MMS is all included.
These new services will be hitting four AT&T handsets, with the Samsung Strive being the first out the door.
Full release as follows:
As a growing number of consumers increasingly realize the benefits of mobile broadband and applications, AT&T is bringing smartphone-like experiences to a wider range of powerful yet affordable devices designed for the mass-market. AT&T* today announced a line-up of four new Quick Messaging Devices that will be among the first to offer a new suite of consumer data services that will significantly enhance messaging, video and photo sharing, and contacts management.
"Quick Messaging Devices are very important for us – it's a category that we defined for the industry and that we continue to lead in value, quality and innovation," said David Christopher, chief marketing officer of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. "Quick Messaging Devices are among our most popular and fastest-growing phones. They offer great value – and now will offer cutting-edge services that enhance the overall experience consumers have with these phones.
"The evolution of the mobile phone experience – increasingly sophisticated hardware and software, including apps – has been advancing rapidly due to the proliferation of smartphones in recent years. At AT&T, we're ensuring a similar rich, ever-evolving experience exists for the sizeable number of our customers who use Quick Messaging Devices."
The new services, to premiere first on the Samsung Strive™, include:
* AT&T Address Book – Syncs contacts to an online address book so customers can access and manage their mobile contacts from their handset – or their PC. Synchronization occurs automatically when any change is made, so contact information is always backed up. From the online interface, customers can import contacts from other Web-based address books, such as personal e-mail accounts, as well as send text messages to their contacts' mobile numbers. There is no additional charge to use AT&T Address Book.
* Next Generation Messaging – Brings an advanced messaging experience designed by AT&T to the quick messaging phones category. The familiar text messaging experience is enhanced with group messaging and "reply all" functionality for up to 10 contacts, a threaded conversations format, a consolidated inbox, and enhanced multi-media display. AT&T designed the service based on research that revealed customers want features that help with social planning, improved message organization and better media integration – but are also simple to use.
* AT&T Mobile Share – Helps customers quickly transfer photos and videos captured on their mobile phone to other destinations and allows customers to manage that content across the mobile and PC screens. With just a few clicks, customers can share videos and pictures in full resolution, up to 10MB, with their home computer, social networking sites, other people and a personal Internet-based storage locker from AT&T – all from their wireless handset. Customers can access pictures and videos stored in their AT&T Locker at any time from any Internet connection or from their handsets. AT&T Mobile Share is available for $10 per month for 50 media transfers; customers can also pay per use, at $.35 per transfer. The service includes online storage of 250MB at no charge. Customers can purchase an additional 10GB of storage for $5 per month. Standard data charges apply for browsing the online media locker from the mobile handset.
Both AT&T Address Book and AT&T Mobile Share bring the benefits of cloud-based services to consumers, giving wireless customers the convenience of seamless access to content and information across the mobile and PC screens, in addition to peace of mind in knowing their content isn't lost if they ever damage or lose their phone.
The new quick messaging phones lineup for spring 2010 includes:
* Samsung Strive™ – In addition to featuring the new AT&T services, the Samsung Strive will be available on March 21 in two color combinations, black/silver and purple/charcoal. Strive features a 2.0-megapixel camera and a vertical slide design to reveal a full keyboard for tapping out info on Mobile Email, instant messaging and social networking apps like AT&T Social Net with ease. The Strive will be available for $19.99 for a limited time with a two-year agreement and after $50 mail-in rebate, as part of AT&T's current 50%-off quick messaging phones promotion.
* Samsung Sunburst™ – With a stunning design that accents Sunburst's touch screen, the GPS-enabled phone is fun and sophisticated, with a curvy exterior and light accent below the screen. A widget bar feature allows one-touch access to a wealth of phone functions like creating a text message, in addition to direct links to social networking sites. Sunburst will also be available on March 21 for $39.99 after a two-year agreement and $50 mail-in-rebate.
* Pantech Link – An ultra slim and light, full keyboard quick messaging phone. Link's contemporary design makes it one of the sharpest in the popular, bar-style family of handsets. With black and blue accents, Link provides direct access to a fun and sought-after range of features such as Mobile Email, instant messaging, AT&T Mobile Share, AT&T Social Net, AT&T Navigator and more. Link will be available in AT&T stores and online in the coming weeks.
* Pantech Pursuit – Combining a full touch screen with a vertical sliding keyboard, the Pantech Pursuit plays host to a set of cool and unique features via shortcuts on Pantech's first touch user interface for easy, customizable access to apps and features like AT&T Social Net, AT&T Address Book, and social networking sites. Available in the summer in green or blue, the Pursuit will also support face recognition software and geotagging to get the most out of your pictures.
For the complete array of AT&T offerings, visit www.att.com