I’m pleased it’s not just me banging on about innovation. It’s nice to see some companies in the industry actually doing a bit of good thinking.
A little while ago I wrote a post on one of my pet subjects, Operator Innovation. I decried the total lack of innovation in messaging. I was particularly annoyed that, on the whole, operators hadn’t bothered doing anything with text messages and voicemail. Why is it LIMITED to my sodding handset and your rubbish voicemail system, I remember asking.
Why can’t I get my SMS on whatever phone I want? Why can’t I see my MMS online or wherever I wish?
Well, I’m delighted to report that AT&T has taken my screams to heart and actually implemented AT&T Messages. Yes, they’ve done it.
Do not adjust your sets.
Chris over at TechCrunch wrote about this yesterday (“AT&T Messages moves your conversations to the cloud“).
Quite simply, AT&T has taken your text messages, picture messages, voicemail and missed call register and stuck it all in an online portal.
It looks ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT!
Let me stick in some pictures to get the juices flowing…
You can use the online portal, or of course you can use the app. Right now it’s only available on Android but Craig reports the iOS version is coming shortly. There will also be a tablet version by the ‘fall of 2011’. So, sometime soon.
Here’s a bit of text from the service FAQ:
AT&T Messages is an application that lets you view, send, and receive texts, calls, voicemail messages, and voice text messages from a single inbox. Messages seamlessly sync in the cloud and are easily accessed from your Android smartphone, Android tablet, or computer. All your communications are organized by person and sorted by when you receive them. Messages sent from AT&T Messages will appear on the Web or on your tablet as if they were sent from your Android smartphone.
AT&T Messages integrates with AT&T Address Book so that all your contacts are available to your phone and your computer. AT&T Address Book may not be available for all devices.
Genius. This is enough to definitely get me to change operator. I bet you react in a similar way. I particularly like this observation from Chris’ Techcrunch post:
Their cloud communications concept sounds quite a bit like the messaging half of Google Voice, but AT&T Messages has a few distinct advantages. One big one is the fact that it integrates with your existing AT&T phone number without any extra legwork. Any message sent to an existing AT&T number gets pushed into the cloud, where it’s viewable from any other compatible device.
It’s all about the phone number, still.
This is a key USP for the operator. Still.
I’m delighted to see a good level of innovation from AT&T. It really does kick the shit out of the bollocks offerings from the mobile operators here in Europe. Vodafone? Where are you?
I know the team at o2 Innovation have some stuff in the bag. Come on guys — forward this to the dithering executive in charge of holding things back and tell him or her to either resign or get off the sodding fence and let you get the stuff out to market.
Interestingly, I think France Telecom are nicely positioned — through their Orange Vallee efforts — to deliver a response to this. I can very much see the Life Is Better On team (given appropriate access to the right FT APIs) deliver a beta version of this within weeks. Imagine ON: Voicefeed with your SMS, missed calls and MMS integrated beautifully? Nice.
But dear me Vodafone, come on!
You can find out more about the AT&T Foundry (their developer operation) here.
And you can read the official announcement on ‘Encore and AT&T Messages’ here.
I’m very excited to see what else the Foundry can deliver to market.
Bring it on!