AT&T promotes HTML 5 apps

The operator unveiled a new API platform for developers to build HTML 5 apps for mobile phones

AT&T is hoping to encourage developers to use HTML 5 with the release of a new API platform.

"It's essentially a rich set of APIs and tools aimed at furthering the HTML 5 appeal as an app development choice," said David Christopher, chief marketing officer at AT&T. "Why are we focusing on HTML 5? We think it has the potential to address fragmentation." He spoke Monday at the AT&T Developer Summit in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show.

Developers must rewrite native applications to run on iPhones, Android phones, Windows Phones and BlackBerry phones. HTML 5 simplifies things for developers by letting them instead build apps that run in a browser accessible by any smartphone. HTML 5 apps look and act similar to a native app. By 2016, 85 percent of smartphones will have browsers capable of running HTML 5, Christopher said, citing a prediction made by Strategy Analytics.

The new API (application programming interface) catalog includes APIs for MMS, SMS, location, and mobile-health capabilities. In addition, it allows developers to let end users make payments in the app that appear on their AT&T bill. It also includes technologies that sense what capabilities a phone has in order to optimize the app for the individual phone.

The APIs are hosted on cloud services including Heroku and Microsoft's Azure. Developers must pay a US$99 registration fee to start using the APIs.

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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