Mobile Sports Viewers Winners in AT&T ‘Sideloading’ Move

The Samsung Infuse supports applications from sources outside AT&T Marketplace

The Samsung Infuse 4G is the first AT&T device to support app 'sideloading.' Photo source:

AT&T finally backed down, and not a moment too soon (for its own sake).

The wireless giant said today it will allow AT&T smartphone customers with Android mobile devices access to sports and other applications through the Internet and well-stocked but unsanctioned app stores.

Before today’s move, AT&T had a long-standing policy to prohibit applications unless they were downloaded through AT&T AppCenter, which is a proprietary marketplace run by the communications giant. The Samsung Infuse 4G is the first AT&T device capable of running applications from other sources, which is a process called “sideloading.”

According to a report, pressure from forced AT&T’s hand.  Greater than 3,800 Android applications, including a new version of the blockbuster Angry Birds game, were unavailable to AT&T users because they could not access’s newly launched Amazon Appstore for Android.

While Angry Birds was clearly the driver, NFL team-themed clock widgets, free TackMaster horse racing selections, and Mixed Martial Arts applications were also beyond the reach of AT&T customers before today’s move.  

Although The Samsung Infuse 4G is the first AT&T device to allow sideloading, the HTC Inspire 4G, Samsung Captivate, HTC Aria and LG Thrive are other AT&T devices slated to receive new-found downloading freedom through a network software upgrade, according to

AT&T’s move is good for mobile sports consumers. As sports apps continue to emerge as key for many smartphone users, restricted access to marketplaces could enable cellular phone service providers to tack a surcharge onto popular or niche-oriented applications that enable viewing. Wouldn’t it suck to pay $9.99 to view a season’s worth of broadcasts of your favorite team only to discover that your neighbor purchased the same application for $7.99 because his wireless communications provider supported sideloading and yours didn’t?