AT&T on Wednesday unveiled a new service that aims to unify all of your mobile devices under one phone number.
Today’s tablets and smartwatchs are more than capable of connecting to cellular networks but the problem is, they do so using a unique phone number. That means that if you want to text a friend from your tablet, they won’t recognize your number at first and may think it’s a stranger or imposter. It’s not a huge issue but it is rather annoying to only be able to link your phone number to a single device.
AT&T will soon be putting an end to this first-world problem with a feature called NumberSync.
As the name suggests, NumberSync will allow customers to link their primary mobile number to all of their connected mobile gadgets. The service doesn’t require a Bluetooth connection and isn’t otherwise hamstrung by any type of location-based restrictions. In fact, your smartphone doesn’t even need to be powered on.
Because it’s network-based, NumberSync isn’t limited by mobile operating system. That doesn’t mean the carrier will simply be able to flip a switch and enable it for everyone; mobile device makers will need to modify their software slightly to enable the functionality.
It’s worth pointing out that NumberSync will be completely free. AT&T customers already pay a per-device fee for gadgets linked to a shared data plan – tacking on an extra fee would no doubt cause irk millions. But even without an additional charge, the feature is likely to generate increased revenue for the carrier as consumers will have a new incentive to buy and connect tablets and wearables to their data plans.
AT&T said the first compatible device is coming "soon" with more expected to launch in time for the holidays. The end game, of course, is to have its full lineup of connected devices support NumberSync.
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