During its annual Developer Summit held the day before CES officially begins, AT&T announced it will be the first carrier in the US to support Web Real-Time Communication, known as WebRTC. The HTML5-based technology allows users to make voice and video calls natively in the browser, without the need for plug-ins commonly used by services like Skype and Google Hangouts.
AT&T says its Enhanced WebRTC API will allow its customers to use their mobile numbers to make phone calls and video chats from their browser, and transfer those calls to their smartphones without dropping. The company says it will release a beta to developers before it brings the technology to AT&T customers.
Right now, WebRTC call quality isn't as strong as plug-in-based options like Skype and Google Hangouts, but the technology is still its infancy. The WebRTC API is currently supported by Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. Microsoft recently announced it will support the protocol in Internet Explorer, and is planning to use WebRTC for its upcoming Skype for Web service. Apple's Safari is the last major browser that hasn't announced support for WebRTC.