NEW YORK – Alltel Corp., the biggest rural U.S. wireless provider, said on Thursday it revamped its cell phone user interface to make it easier for consumers to navigate wireless data applications.
Alltel hopes the offering will encourage more customers to use their phones for more than just talking. It has been behind bigger rivals in the percentage of revenue it derives from data applications such as mobile Web surfing.
The new interface, dubbed Celltop, arranges a phone screen into as many as 10 cells that offer short cuts to applications such as call logs, text message inboxes, weather and news.
Alltel said Celltop would be free and available immediately on one phone model, the U520 from Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., and it plans to extend it to five models by March and all its new phones by year-end.
Alltel said the Celltop system will also be open for outside software developers to create new applications, similar to “widgets” — popular single-use applications that are typically embedded into Web sites used on desktop computers.