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AT&T Mobility President and CEO Ralph De La Vega.

"I think they just need to make it better."

AT&T Mobility President and CEO Ralph De La Vega recently spoke with All Things D's Ina Fried at length about a number of issues, including the popularity of Android, why Windows Phone 7 devices aren't selling well, and whether or not the tablet market is actually going to take off the way analysts are predicting it to.

Much of what De La Vega told Fried about AT&T's business echoes the trends emerging throughout the wireless industry:
We’ve seen a dramatic shift from feature phones and quick messaging devices, which were texting devices only, into smartphones. We love that.
Android is becoming more popular. Our Android business is doing very, very well.
What Apple has done very well [with the iPad] is killer software, but the hardware is beautiful. I think they are raising the bar very high, but this is a competitive industry. I am pretty sure the other guys are not going to sit still and let Apple have all of that [tablet] market share.
He praised Windows Phone 7 for its design, but noted why it hasn't sold well: "Giving customers more application choices, having a bigger app store with more functionality on the phone, I think that is all that it needs."

"It hasn’t sold as well as Microsoft or us would want it to, but I think having the Nokia hardware capability with the Microsoft software capability is a really good combination," he said. "Keep in mind this is the first product that Microsoft has come out with since Microsoft redid their OS. I think for the first thing out of the chute it is pretty good. I think they just need to make it better."

He called Windows 8 "a huge win" for Microsoft, and noted that all of the smartphone manufacturers are now offering AT&T their tablets to carry (including the Motorola Xoom). "The question is which ones of those are good enough to stand up to the iPad. That’s a very high bar," he said.

As for BlackBerries, De La Vega wouldn't delve too deep into reasons why they haven't sold as well as in the past. "We just see customers, in some cases choosing other products rather than traditional BlackBerries," he said. "I think customers want more applications and [RIM is] going to eventually move to where they have one OS," rather than having both QNX and OS 7.

De La Vega also praised HTC, particularly for their UI, and noted that the HTC Inspire is selling very well. 

On another note, he said that AT&T is working with the industry to shrink the size and footprint of SIM cards.

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Hardware Options
By Aloonatic on 6/6/2011 5:23:13 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe it's just the UK, but there really aren't many options for WP7 devices.

You go to most major carriers websites/stores and you see the iPhone taking pride of place, then the latest dual core Android phones, then the plethora of Android phones that have at least as good, if not better hardware specs than the 2 or 3 WP7 phones, then a load of cheaper Android phones too.

So WP7 phones are neither the cheapest/budget option, nor the best** iPhone alternative, so they might as well not exist to most people who aren't reading up on smartphones and listening to people like those here who love their WP7 phones.

I'd love to buy one on contract when renewal time comes around in September, but am I really going to want to choose a last generation level of hardware, sumilar to the phone I'm replacing, running WP7, over the latest iPhone or the latest dual core Android phone, especially as Android phone manufacturers are offering extras like media docking stations, HDMI out, Keyboard and Mouse connectivity, notebook docking stations, 3D cameras...

I'd love to think that I could wait until Nokia produce something with MS/WP7 and that the wait will be worth while, but I just don't think that I will, and that's a shame.

** Best in terms of hardware specs, as that's what a lot of people look for. I'm not talking about how well WP7 works on the same hardware as Android 2.2 or 2,3. I'd love to give a WP7 a go, but I have never met anyone with one and hate hanging around in phone shops trying phones out if they are being demoed by fools who will say whatever phone they have hte most of in stock is definitely the best phone they have in the store, etc...

"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton
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