Ina Fried

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AT&T Wants to Help More Smartphone Owners Divide Their Business and Personal Lives

AT&T is expanding a service called Toggle that allows smartphones to divide into work and personal components.

The paid service allows workers to use all of their personal apps without interference from their employer, while giving companies the ability to have a portion of the cellphone to provide secure access to work email and corporate applications. If an employee leaves, companies can delete just the work portion.

The updated Toggle is designed for both Android and Apple’s iOS, with support for BlackBerry 10 and Windows Phone planned for before the end of the year.

An early version of the service, based on technology from Enterproid, worked only on Android devices. This time around, AT&T is working with OpenPeak to power the service.

AT&T’s Chris Hill said that dozens of companies had been testing the service but were nearly universal in the feedback that it needed to support more than just Android for them to use it with their broader workforce.

“We got a lot of good feedback from getting it out there,” Hill said.

The updated service also supports the ability of businesses to have their own catalog of applications and other content that can be pushed to workers’ devices. Antivirus capabilities will be added in the third quarter of the year.

AT&T plans to charge $6.50 per device per month for the new version of Toggle, Hill said.

The new version of Toggle also paves the way for a device to even have separate rate plans for their work and personal lives, something AT&T hopes to support by the end of the year.

Toggle is one of a growing number of services designed to help support balancing the mixed use of mobile devices. Research In Motion has put forth a notion called BlackBerry Balance, while companies like Enterproid and 3LM are also aimed at this space.

AT&T is announcing the service later on Wednesday at an analyst conference in Bedminster, N.J.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work