AT&T Planning to Lock Down all Android Handsets?

As CTIA was kicking off last week, AT&T and Dell unveiled the forthcoming Aero handset. The sleek touch-only device which features a 3.5-inch screen and 5 megapixel camera may have something in common with AT&T’s other Android phone, the Motorola Backflip.  According to, the Dell Aero will not allow for installation of applications that do not come from the Android Market. 

We hope this isn’t a growing trend for the nation’s second largest provider.  Sadly, this doesn’t have the feel of “coincidence” to us.  For whatever reasons, AT&T doesn’t appear to like one of the fundamental benefits of Android – choice.  Thankfully, there’s still a Nexus One that can be had with the full Google experience.

How many of you were considering picking up an Android phone from AT&T only to rethink your decision?

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In addition to smartphones and mobile gadgets, Scott has a deep appreciation for film, music, and sunflower seeds. A husband and father, he likes spending down time riding his mountain bike or binge-watching TV. Scott has overseen the day-to-day activities of AndroidGuys since 2007.
  • vwauditech

    I was waiting for the Desire from AT&T. The more I keep hearing about AT&T plan for Android the more I consider just ordering a Nexus One. I sure would like to have that big sexy screen on the Desire.

  • Carol Anne

    The New AT&T, just like the OLD AT&T: Where are you, Judge Greene?

    These telecom trolls, focused on their own income rather than their customers' benefits, are driving their business into the ground by offering progressively more restricted service, blaming customers for consuming too much bandwidth, and charge progressively higher prices for this abuse.

    AT&T was broken up once. Then Bernie Ebbers clone Ed Whitacre (now CEO at GM; good fit!) reassembled parts of it (absent the key components of Long Lines, Bell Labs and Western Electric/Lucent) into a "new" AT&T, still focused on "Shareholder return" (by which they mean the small subset of shareholders called "officers" of AT&T corporate).

    The long, slow suicide of AT&T is a pleasurable sight to behold. Here in California, they are losing ground fast to consumers and CPUC. Go to it, guys. I can think of no one who deserves it more!

  • david

    this is one of the reasons i choose to stick with the #4 carrier in the nation, say what you'd like about tmobile but out of the 4, this is the carrier that i've had the best experience with, hands down and i've had service from all the other carriers, though verizon to me was great too cept they're pricy lol

  • Stephen

    I currently have ATT and have been waiting around for a good Android phone. I think I will soon part ways with ATT once Sprint puts out the EVO. A really nice piece of hardware and hopefully with Sprints record they will not neuter it like ATT would. Plus I think the talk/data plans are better with Sprint at the moment anyhow. Since I am looking for a good family plan for my wife and I.

  • T George

    I, too, was waiting on the Desire to come out, but after experiencing the Backflip debacle, and hearing this news re. the Dell phone, I'm not so sure. Wouldn't that just be like AT&T to criple to Desire, too? I would just order a Nexus one unsubsidized, but why pay $500+ and still have to pay AT&T for service? If T-Mobile reception wasn't so abysmal in my area, I would definitely switch. So….still waiting for a non-Motorola Android 2.1 option from Verizon. Any news on the Verizon N1 or Incredible?

  • Manny

    I was waiting for the Desire… Eff that, I'm switching to Sprint the getting the EVO 4G.

  • Kevin Moore

    We are stuck with AT&T because TMo doesn't have coverage at my office, and my wife needs GSM for international travel. Our solution was to get two white 16 GB iphone 3GS's at AT&T ($200 each), sell them on EBay (about $500 each if they've only been "activated/unbricked" at the AT&T store), and use the difference to buy "AT&T subsidized" Nexus One's. That may be a solution for those who want an N1 on AT&T and aren't on contract.

  • Scott

    I was waiting for the Desire, but watching the treatment of their first 2 phones, i bought the nexus one. i like ATT's service and 3g speed (as well as their HSDPA+ plans, so i dont need to buy a new phone to take advantage of that) but the company handling of their handsets has been total crap

  • Martin

    I was never planning on getting an Android phone on at&t. I think their network sucks and my house is a dead zone at night. This just make my decision that much easier.

  • Drago

    I just returned my backflip to the at&t store (got it on the first day it came out). I really liked the hardware and I won't mind getting it again if:
    1. they upgrade to android 2.1
    2. they allow the choice of the search provider

    p.s. if someone is interested in joining the fight for liberating the android on a backflip, join the following group:

  • I, too, was waiting on the Desire to come out, but after experiencing the Backflip debacle, and hearing this news re. the Dell phone, I'm not so sure. Wouldn't that just be like AT&T to criple to Desire, too? I would just order a Nexus one unsubsidized, but why pay $500+ and still have to pay AT&T for service?

  • Nowadays it's just best to buy unlocked phones. Every company now wants to control what you put on your phone and how you can use it.

    As far as ATT I never liked them.

  • timmyjoe42

    AT+T's days as #1 are drawing to an end. As soon as the iPhone goes to other networks, so will users. Crippling their Android devices isn't something that is going to keep people or bring in replacements.

    • AT&T is already #2 to verizon in customers

  • Always hated AT&T for reasons just like this. If I was ever willing to do business with them I would have picked up the iPhone years ago. Instead I put it off and off until I was blessed by Google with Android… Doesn't matter that AT&T decided to pick up on the new trend to keep from loosing their customers to Verizon and T-mobile – The company itself is still crap and we should just point and laugh and stupid business decisions such as this. Can't wait till the rest of the Nation figures it out and they just go under.


    Its not ironic that AT&T is putting restrictions on the Android phones. Google's Android OS is the biggest threat to the Apple's Iphone. Who do you think AT&T would rather support first, since the Iphone saved AT&T from being last if not extinct..

  • adam

    As other posters have also said, I was going to wait for the Desire, but with this kind of news I went ahead and pulled the trigger on the nex1; don't think that will be a mistake at all (even if it's a bit more money)

  • Jim

    Wake Up AT&T and get rid of whoever is in charge of your cell phone division I think they must be getting paid by your competition to sabotage you as you are So Far behind with your Android phone choice and operating system. Listen to you Customers.!!! I have been a loyal AT&T subscriber for many years but I am seriously thinking of changing.

  • nice info. thank you for sharing :p

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