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See what's up at AT&T's 'lab' store (pictures)

Check out how AT&T tinkers with the look and feel of its retail stores. It isn't just about selling phones anymore.

Roger Cheng
Roger Cheng (he/him/his) was the executive editor in charge of CNET News, managing everything from daily breaking news to in-depth investigative packages. Prior to this, he was on the telecommunications beat and wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal for nearly a decade and got his start writing and laying out pages at a local paper in Southern California. He's a devoted Trojan alum and thinks sleep is the perfect -- if unattainable -- hobby for a parent.
Roger Cheng
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1 of 10 Roger Cheng/CNET

AT&T Mobility's campus store

AT&T's test store in Atlanta looks like a typical carrier store found in a mall. But it's located in the mobility unit's headquarters, and its only customers are AT&T employees.

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2 of 10 Roger Cheng/CNET

Welcome to AT&T's 'lab' store

The lab store has a large display, which can be altered to show different promotions or claims based on the region or time. A greeter is supposed to say hello to incoming customers within 10 seconds.

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3 of 10 Roger Cheng/CNET

A new, brighter look

The design calls for more splashes of white and orange, a callback to the unit's roots in Cingular Wireless. It took the AT&T name after a series of mergers by its parent companies into a single company.

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4 of 10 Roger Cheng/CNET

The musical "experience" area

AT&T Retail's president, Paul Roth, checks out a circular table ringed with music accessories. Roth says people are more likely to walk around the circle and check out all of the products than if they were laid out along a long table.

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5 of 10 Roger Cheng/CNET

AT&T's entire phone lineup

The carrier's whole portfolio of products are displayed against one wall of the store. The order and position are chosen by Roth and his team. Above and below the phones are related accessories.

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6 of 10 Roger Cheng/CNET

Telling a story with props

Roth said AT&T hired someone from Nike to help choose props for the store to help tell a story for different products beyond the simple smartphone. Here, he has a miniature drive-in movie theater setup to demonstrate a pico projector accessory that can be hooked up to a smartphone.

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7 of 10 Roger Cheng/CNET

Trying out new things

AT&T has a section reserved to highlight new and unique products. This table includes Moto X's customizable back covers, as well as Samsung's Galaxy Gear.

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8 of 10 Roger Cheng/CNET

AT&T pushes its smart home service

Roth demonstrates how a person can control the lights or locks at home with a smartphone. One of the company's bigger initiatives is the push for a smart home through a product called Digital Life.

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9 of 10 Roger Cheng/CNET

Apple's default hero slot

AT&T typically reserves one of its "hero" tables, or areas where it highlights its marquee products, for Apple and the iPhone. The other hero table is up for grabs.

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AT&T's little blue book

Ritz-Carlton has its greenbook, which employees use as a guide for their premium-level service. AT&T has its little blue book, which it hands out to all store employees.

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