AT&T announced a coming new service, NumberSync, which will sync multiple devices to a single phone number or wireless account, lessening the dependency to have your smartphone physically with you. NumberSync acts as a “virtual Bluetooth” connection between your smartphone and your other devices, allowing for connected device texting and calling without the need for the smartphone to be nearby or even powered on.
The service is network based and effectively assigns a subscriber’s AT&T wireless account to connected devices including wearables, tablets, laptops, and even cars. If those devices have Internet connectivity, they will be able to send and receive texts and phone calls, appearing as the subscriber’s phone number.
Connected Device Texting, Calling
Left your phone at home, but have your tablet, smartwatch, or are in your connected car? No problem. You’ll be able to communicate without the actual smartphone.
“This means in the future you’ll be able to send and receive texts, as well as make and receive calls, from your tablet or wearable using the same number that your family, friends and colleagues recognize,” says David Christopher in an AT&T blog post. “This will work when your smartphone isn’t with you, nearby or even powered on.”
AT&T didn’t announce availability or pricing for the new service. But the Re/code website reports there will be no additional charge for NumberSync. Rather the goal is to encourage subscribers to add additional devices to their AT&T shared data account, which typically costs between $5 and $10 per device per month.
Such a service also adds “stickiness” to AT&T’s service. Churning to an AT&T competitor may look less attractive if the competitor can’t offer similar connected device texting and calling. AT&T says NumberSync will be mobile OS independent, working across all platforms. A device software upgrade will be required though.
According to Re/code, NumberSync was incubated out of AT&T’s in-house technology incubator, AT&T Foundry.
“We’re really excited about bringing this functionality to market soon,” says Christopher. “We expect to launch NumberSync on our first device fairly soon with additional devices launching in the holiday timeframe.”