Now that wearables & tablets have become the new tech staple of Middle America, mobile carriers are beginning to realize the need for smartphone owners to extend their primary device’s service onto second & third products.
With AT&T NumberSync, announced by the company today, subscribers of the mobile carrier will soon have the option of extending their phone number to smartwatches, tablets, and other 3G/LTE-enabled wearable devices. NumberSync does not depend on BlueTooth or WiFI to work—therefore, people will conceivably have the ability to leave their primary device at home while still having access to the cellular network.
AT&T won’t be charging extra for this service—aside for the $10/month it already charges customers to add devices to Mobile Share—and is expected to arrive on initial devices “soon”.
NumberSync is similar to Apple’s Continuity feature, which allows iCloud users to answer calls & texts on Macs and iPads. The difference with AT&T’s NumberSync and Apple’s Continuity is that with the latter, a user’s iPhone needs to be connected via BlueTooth or WiFi.
The bad news for Apple fans is that NumberSync is dependent on cellular chips being present in secondary devices—something that Macs, the Apple Watch, and some iPads lack. iPads with cellular connectivity may eventually qualify for AT&T NumberSync; however, as Engadget reports, device manufacturers will need to modify their technology to be compatible with the service, so this won’t be available immediately.
In related news, AT&T did begin enabling WiFi calling on iPhones with iOS 9. I was able to turn on this feature on my iPhone 6+ this evening. Simply go to Settings and navigate to the Phone icon to enable WiFi calls & text messaging.