You can already be able to use a smartwatch to send or receive text messages, but only if it’s connected to your phone via Bluetooth or if your watch has its own cellular radio and a dedicated phone number.
AT&T wants to simplify things with a new system that will let you share one phone number between multiple connected devices.
Soon your phone, tablet, and smartwatch could all use the same phone number.
That means you’d be able to send messages or even make calls using your watch or tablet if your phone’s not around, or if the battery is dead. It also means that if calls or messages come in, you’ll be able to respond without using your phone.
AT&T is calling this number-sharing NumberSync, and says it’ll be available on future devices, starting with a first NumberSync-compatible device that will launch in time for the 2015 holiday season.
Want to use NumberSync to share a phone number between multiple phones? AT&T has no plans to let you do that. Right now the goal is to let you use one number for multiple types of devices.
NumberSync will be available as a free option for any device linked to an AT&T Mobile Share plan.
Of course, there’s another, probably cheaper solution: just use your phone to make calls and connect to the internet on the go, and use it as a WiFi hotspot for connecting your wearables, tablets, and other devices to the internet. That way you don’t need to pay for cellular hardware in each of your devices and don’t need to add those devices to your data plan.
Update: According to Recode, T-Mobile plans to launch its own one-phone-number service in the future, and Sprint it looking into the possibility of implementing such a feature.