HTML5 Apps: The Future of AT&T’s Mobile Store

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LAS VEGAS — AT&T unveiled new tools for app developers Monday, making it easier for them to create and distribute apps made with HTML5.

AT&T said it will launch the HTML5 storefront for its App Center later this year, and that the new tools will allow developers to collect fees from customers by adding expenses to phone bills.

The big news for developers is that they no longer have to make apps that run natively on Android or iOS — they can develop the app in HTML5, a universal standard. This will let them start selling their apps sooner. AT&T’s App Center promises to be less populated than the Android Market or App Store, and at the same time it will be curated — so customers would in theory have an easier time finding your app.

HTML5 apps usually run via a mobile phone’s browser. AT&T’s new platform appears to be aimed mainly at Android developers, but since HTML5 is supported on most smartphone browsers (including the iPhone’s), it could be extended to iOS as well.

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As part of the HTML5 developer API, AT&T is making it easy for developers to bill customers right on their phone bills. Some other mobile APIs already allow this, but AT&T’s support for billing via HTML5 should bring the service to more customers.

Besides the billing feature, other new developer tools include AT&T Cloud Architect, a “fast way to pick, provision and deploy servers over the web within minutes or hours, not days,” and an Application Resource Optimizer, which will optimize apps so they consume the minimum amount of data and power.

Are you a developer? What do you think of AT&T’s new HTML5 app store and API? Let us know in the comments, and browse some of CES 2012′s coolest gadgets in the gallery below.

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