AT&T opening three facilities for mobile app devs

Developers will be able to test their apps and access tools and resources, AT&T said

AT&T is building three facilities that mobile application developers can visit to access tools and resources and test their applications, the company said on Wednesday.

The first facility will open this quarter in Plano, Texas. Later this year additional centers will open in Palo Alto, California, and Tel Aviv, Israel.

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The centers were "designed to foster innovation and improve the cycle time from idea to market," said John Donovan, chief technology officer for AT&T, at CES where the company is holding a developers' summit.

AT&T and "others" expect to invest $70 million in building the facilities. AT&T did not disclose names of other companies participating in the initiative.

The operator made a few other announcements geared to developers. It said it is working on a standards-based SDK (software developer kit) aimed at making it easier for developers to build applications using HTML5. By the second half of this year, AT&T expects that the majority of its smartphones will support HTML5, said David Christopher, chief marketing officer for AT&T. Creating apps in HTML5 may make it easier for developers to build a single app that can work across platforms.

The developers' toolkit will allow for carrier billing, so developers can let customers pay for apps on their monthly bills rather than directly with a credit card.

The SDK will also allow for micropayments, so developers can build apps that charge users incrementally as they use services.

AT&T expects to launch a beta program in March for developers to start using the new tools.

AT&T also said it is building links for developers to connect mobile devices to the AT&T U-Verse set-top box. Those tools will allow developers to create applications that pull in content from AT&T's U-Verse television service.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

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