AT&T (NYSE:T) this week brought two new applications to the iPhone, AT&T U-verse TV Mobile Remote Access and AT&T Navigator. Unlike most items in Apple’s App Store, the monthly charge for the Navigator App will show up on AT&T’s bill, giving the carrier a more direct piece of the app-store action.
With the TeleNav-powered Navigator app, iPhone 3G S owners, as well as those with iPhone 3.0 software, can access turn-by-turn voice-guided and on-screen directions, get free map and time-of-arrival updates and locate businesses from AT&T’s database of 10 million. It also includes other nifty features like daily gas prices, one-touch rerouting, 3D maps and traffic alerts. The app is free to download, but will cost consumers a monthly subscription $9.99. Navigator is already available on other AT&T handsets, but the carrier had to wait for Apple to enable turn-by-turn directions to launch on iPhone.
AT&T’s new free U-Verse app ties the home digital-video recorder (DVR) to the iPhone, letting users manage their recordings, search listings or schedule a program on the go.
AT&T is not alone in looking for ways to get in on the app store craze in some form or another. This week, T-Mobile also launched an app, called Sherpa and developed by Geodelic, for Android phones. Verizon Wireless, meanwhile, made a bolder move this month when it announced a Java app portal, its own app store; although one that closely resembles its long-standing BREW Get It Now portal. Third parties like Qualcomm are also getting into the app store game to help carriers launch their own offerings with a set of software tools designed around the “write once, read everywhere” mentality. It is still too early to tell how carrier-hosted app stores will fare, but introducing new apps is contributing to making app stores successful on nearly all platforms, and it should help the carriers too.