Today, AT&T announced an "exclusive smartphone for AT&T customers," the HP Veer 4G will be available online and at company-owned stores on May 15. It will cost $99.99 with a two-year contract. There will be a black version and a white version.
The press release goes on to tout how AT&T is "a pioneer in smartphones and devices" and that the company is committed to introducing 20 4G devices by the end of the calendar year.
They really banged home the exclusive message:
Available exclusively to AT&T customers, HP Veer 4G will be one of several 4G devices offered in the first half of 2011.
HP Veer 4G comes preloaded with several popular apps including mobile hotspot and AT&T Navigator. The mobile hotspot functionality*** allows users to share wireless internet connectivity with up to five Wi-Fi-enabled devices while AT&T Navigator**** a GPS-enabled navigation service, is designed to provide you with clear and precise audible and visual turn-by-turn driving directions, including full-color moving maps, using GPS directly from your wireless phone.
The lengthy press release includes quotes from:
> Michael Woodward, vice president, Mobile Device Portfolio, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets.
> Stephane Maes, vice president of smartphone product management, Palm Global Business Unit, HP.
As for the numerous asterisk, they have noted things like:
> *4G speeds delivered by HSPA with enhanced backhaul. Available in limited areas. Availability increasing with ongoing backhaul deployment.
Seems to be pushing the envelope saying the Veer is 4G.
> ***Mobile Hotspot Requires a DataPro 4GB plan. Devices connected to your Mobile Hotspot use data from your DataPro 4GB plan. Overage charges apply if the included monthly data allowance is exceeded. Performance may vary depending on the number of devices connected and other factors. If you do not use a password, others will be able to use your Mobile Hotspot connection
> ****Navigator requires a separate subscription
Seems like many caveats for a $100 phone.
Anyway, IMHO, this press release feels like AT&T is trying to poke a stick in Sprint's eye. They have something Sprint doesn't. And for those of us on Sprint looking to upgrade our Palm Pre smartphones, what's the consolation prize?
And the post at the webOS Developer Center makes a point to push AT&T's convenient billing:
We are also excited to offer customers the option to be billed for apps they purchase in the App Catalog through their AT&T account. It's a great option that makes it even more convenient for customers to access your apps.
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Read Merciful by Casey Adolfsson