The carrier has a recent history of taking a chance on oddball devices, nabbing these for-better-or-worse exclusives.
Embracing the unusual
T-Mobile may have the US mobile industry all shook up when it comes to breaking contract convention, but on the phone front, it's AT&T that pads its lineup with the chancier handsets. Here's a look at some of the more unique devices that AT&T has embraced since 2007 -- for better or for worse.
At least for now, AT&T has exclusive rights to sell Amazon's Fire Phone, a device whose four tracking cameras on the front help create immersive 3D effects while using the phone, and whose physical camera button also scans the world around you. Although not all specs come in on top, AT&T is giving the Fire Phone the full hero treatment.
Announced in January at CES, AT&T has been sitting on the Asus PadFone X, the first of Asus' phone-in-tablet hybrids to land at a US carrier. Half a year later, AT&T still isn't stocking the pair, whose specs superiority slips month by month as competing devices launch.
The PadFone X isn't AT&T's only toe into this phone-docking territory. The carrier also exclusively carried the Motorola Atrix 4G and its add-on laptop dock.The accessory cost a pretty penny, selling bundled for $500 after a $100 mail-in rebate and a data contract. Otherwise, the dock cost $500 all on its own.
While high-performance cell phone cameras constitute a major buying point, Samsung's Galaxy S4 Zoom took the notion to bulky new proportions. Outfitting a point-and-shoot with a zoom lens, Android OS, and a cellular radio may have seemed like a good idea at the time -- and it sure was unique -- but there's probably a reason that AT&T isn't selling the S4 Zoom's sequel.
As far as high-end cell phone cameras go, Nokia's Lumia 1020 Windows phone was the more pocket-friendly bet. It lacked the S4 Zoom's optical zoom, but added a lossless cropping feature that boasted image capturing up to 41 megapixels.
The staunchest supporter of Windows Phone OS, AT&T was the first to host Nokia's US resurgence with the Lumia 900. The 4G LTE smartphone -- the first Windows Phone of its time to include faster 4G speeds -- shocked the market with its bright colors, like the now-signature cyan blue.
Now, the Samsung Galaxy Note series is a foregone conclusion, but when the 5.3-inch "phablet" first descended, the Galaxy Note was a monstrous stylus-slinging oddity that seemed unsure if it wanted to be a cell phone, a tablet, or something else entirely.
The Status' lack of success didn't stop AT&T from championing the next "Facebook" phone two years later, in 2013. A physically forgettable phone, the HTC First's notable feature was Facebook Home a start screen skin that made Facebook the central experience, and all other phone functions secondary.