Were you starting to get excited about the new Google Hangouts? Gave it an early try, liked what you saw, and this news of SMS integration made things sound even better? Unfortunately, someone just had to go and rain on this parade, and this time the bad guy is AT&T, once again sticking its nose into how apps use its wireless data network.
Remember all the utter nonsense AT&T spewed over FaceTime on iOS? First limiting access to those users on certain plans, then based on whether you had an HSPA+ or LTE iPhone? Even when it started getting really permissive, it still blocked access to the users most capable of taking advantage of the technology, cutting-off those with unlimited data.
Well, AT&T is back at it, and Android users trying Hangouts will get a message informing them that video calls are limited to use with WiFi networks when attempting to connect though the carrier’s network. Maybe the most maddening thing is how inconsistent the limitation is, as the iOS Hangouts app works on AT&T without a hitch.
AT&T has issued a statement about its policies that still really doesn’t speak to the specific situation at hand, and Google has not yet revealed the extent to which it may be culpable in allowing AT&T to block the app, especially on open phones like the Nexus 4.
Update: Got root? If you do, you can bypass AT&T’s block.