Now that AT&T has instituted data caps on its smartphone customers, the other carriers will most likely be following that example in the near future. Customers who were already on the unlimited plan when the change went into effect on June 7 were grandfathered in, and can keep the plan if they choose, or switch over to save some money. Switching, or being a new customer means that smartphone users are going to have to keep an eye on their data usage to avoid incurring overage fees. They’ll have to be pickier about how they use their phone, how much music they listen to, how much video they stream, and yes, how many apps they download, as well as which ones. Some apps use more data than others, and up to now, developers were happily adding more and more bells and whistles to their apps. They’re going to have to switch gears now if they want to remain competitive. Smartphone apps range from the completely ludicrous and unnecessary to the uber productive and useful. Some apps, like Evernote, for example, cross the spectrum of smartphone, desktop, and Web, being available to users in every capacity. But some are smartphone exclusive, and have been working to add features to be more useful, and to compete with similar apps. The answer probably won’t be to limit app features, but to simply make high quality apps. Smartphone users are going to be a lot more discerning about what they download. The concern with apps used to be their cost. Now it will be whether they’re really worth the prime real estate they’ll take up on a device, and the data they’ll eat during use. It’s ironic that just as the iPad and new iPhone are launched, two devices that display video better than ever before, AT&T limits data usage that’s necessary to stream that video. Did they discuss this with Apple before they did it? Did Apple know this was going to happen even as they built new hardware that was going to outstrip the wireless network meant to support it? Actually, that goes beyond ironic to just baffling.
Data caps will affect app developers
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