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Interoperability of Applications Across All Mobile Devices is Paramount: AT&T CEO

February 15, 2011

AT&T Chairman Randall Stephenson on Tuesday urged all players in the mobile telecommunications space to help create an environment where applications can be interoperable on multiple networks, platforms and mobile devices.

While giving the keynote address at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Stephenson stressed the importance of embracing technologies that enable consumers to download an application once, and then access it on a host of different devices, according to the AP.

"You purchase an app for one operating system, and if you want it on another device or platform, you have to buy it again," he said. "That's not how our customers expect to experience this environment."

To accomplish this goal of creating complete interoperability, Stephenson pointed to HTML 5, a new Web language that allows for openness across all mobile devices.

He also noted that cloud computing will be a "catalyst" for the interoperability of applications, "but there are significant public policy issues to pursue" first. Stephenson said that the allocation of wireless spectrum by federal regulators will be a major component in allowing consumers to access applications and other Web services in various geographies and countries, Computer World reported.

Finally, Stephenson emphasized the role that the Wholesale Applications Community (WAC) will play in what he sees as the necessary transition in the app world. Launched last year, WAC is a large app store run by major carriers that is designed to compete with those operated by Apple and Google, according to the AP. AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel Corp. and T-Mobile have all invested in the Wholesale Applications Community.

Although very few handsets currently support WAC apps, several smartphone makers have already indicated that they plan to manufacture devices that are compatible with WAC. Companies like Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Huawei Technologies, ZTE Corp and LG have all pledged their support of the organization. 

Beecher Tuttle is a unified communications contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

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