The Android army: Verizon Wireless, Google ink collaboration pact; Google Voice support on tap

The Android army: Verizon Wireless, Google ink collaboration pact; Google Voice support on tap

Summary: Updated: Verizon Wireless and Google said Tuesday that they will partner to co-develop a bevy of Android-based devices. Verizon Wireless also said that it will tightly integrate its network with Google apps---including Google Voice.

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Updated: Verizon Wireless and Google said Tuesday that they will partner to co-develop a bevy of Android-based devices. Verizon Wireless also said that it will tightly integrate its network with Google apps---including Google Voice.

The terms of the deal (Techmeme) weren't disclosed, but the companies are looking to create innovative devices "pre-loaded with innovative applications from both parties as well as third-party developers." On a conference call, Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam said the deal will be a boon to mobile customers across the U.S. "Both companies are devoted to bringing the latest applications to third generation and fourth generation networks," said McAdam, who added that the partnership will enable Google and Verizon to accelerate device development.

Among other notable nuggets from the call:

  • Verizon will support Google Voice. McAdam said "the device is either open or it's not."
  • The Android market will be preloaded on Verizon devices.
  • The deal covers phones and netbooks.
  • McAdam said new Android devices would be announced shortly with two devices, which were described as the first installment of a multi-year roadmap. There is no hard target for the number of Android devices, but there will be a wide range of them.
  • There were some subtle hints about ad revenue, but it's unclear what the Google-Verizon split is. Safe to say it's likely favorable to Verizon.

Credit: Cybermen from Dr. Who, BBC.

A tight partnership between Verizon and Google is clearly aimed directly at the AT&T/Apple/iPhone juggernaut. Verizon and Google are forming an Android army designed to tackle a common foe. Android is aiming at the iPhone in terms of applications, usability and the sheer number of devices. And Verizon is looking to hit AT&T in the chops by wrapping itself in network reliability and open devices.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt took aim at AT&T indirectly and did some of McAdam's bidding. "It's an absolute fact that Verizon's network is the best by far," said Schmidt. "We had known about that reach. We didn't know that they'd take a lead in openness. This is a network engineering company that makes it work and makes it scale. This is a major milestone in the Android platform. "

The two parties started talking 18 months ago, executives said.

According to the companies, the aim is to develop unique applications and get them to consumers quickly. The two companies also say they are committed to collaborating for years to come.

For Verizon Wireless, which historically has trailed other carriers with bleeding edge devices, the deal with Google could help it be more of a leader in the buzz department. Meanwhile, a tight partnership with Google should give Verizon Wireless more clout with the developers it is trying to woo.

And for Google the pact with Verizon Wireless means there will be more Android devices in the field.

In the end, this Google-Verizon partnership is really about economies of scale. Google wants to scale Android and mobile search. Verizon wants a developer footprint and cutting edge applications.

My take: It's a bit hard for me as a Verizon Wireless customer to not be excited a bit about this deal. Typically, there has been a trade-off with Verizon Wireless between cutting edge devices and network reliability. Given the way my phone is used (mostly as a tethered wireless modem) I went with the reliability. Meanwhile, I was seriously leaning toward the Android platform for my next mobile phone, currently a BlackBerry Storm, and checking out the new Motorola devices. As a Verizon customer, the Google partnership is well timed. The proof will be in the execution, but my initial take is positive. Given the joint enemy, Apple/AT&T, it's in the best interest of both parties to follow through.

Verizon made sure that it said that the Google deal doesn't mean that it isn't chummy with other partners. After all, RIM and Verizon are tight. However, you have to wonder whether this Google deal takes any potential iPhone partnership off the table.

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Topics: Verizon, Banking, Collaboration, Enterprise Software, Google, Software

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37 comments
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  • The Android army: Verizon Wireless, Google ink collaboration pact; Promise

    Time to change my phone carrier, I don't need Google taking control and recording my conversations like they tried to do with Chrome.
    Loverock Davidson
    • looks like you forgot your tinfoil hat again

      nt
      urbandk
      • He doesn't need it

        you can't brainwash an empty void :\
        T1Oracle
    • Perhaps for the first time

      I must agree with LD. Google stores everything you do with any of their services. For now, it is supposed to be for commercial purposes. But, having the largest database in the world, they are subject to corruption, or worse.

      Unless Google assures us that they are not recording everything you do using Android, it will remain an OS to be avoided.
      jorjitop
      • I'm sorry, thats a retarded idea

        Android is an open platform, ultamitely it will
        be Verizon or phone makers (i.e. HTC or
        Motorola) that will decide what "version" of
        Android is on the phone. All Google will be
        able to track is interactions with its
        services. God forbid they know that you
        searched for amputee bestiality! If you ever
        wanted to become a senator someone could figure
        out where you were staying at that date, acquire (somehow) your ip for that time (which
        is probably dynamic, if not you've got more
        security to worry about than Google) and correlate that with your Google searches and
        BAM you have mass allegations on your hands.
        shadfurman
        • Too late, Loverock!

          "God forbid they know that you searched for amputee bestiality!"

          Too late, Lovecock Davidson - looks like they already tapped into your conversations!
          TucsonGuy
      • Google stores everything...

        It is true that Google stores a lot of data based on what
        you do and to protect your privacy, it is a good idea
        not to register for gmail account with your real name
        and address.

        Personally, I don't mind what they store, it seems to
        improve the search experience. However, all they've
        got is an IP address and my internet provider, rough
        geographic location.
        prof123
  • Yes yes yes!

    Hope for choice and an area of computing not controlled and manipulated by MS
    dfolk2
  • RE: The Android army: Verizon Wireless, Google ink collaboration pact; Promise 'innovative applications'

    This is sweet. I like my omnia but WM 6.1 leaves a lot to be desired and I hope Android is the answer. Now I won't have to switch carriers to get it.
    ricklipinski@...
  • RE: The Android army: Verizon Wireless, Google ink collaboration pact; Promise 'innovative applications'

    Wow, a 'more open' and competitive Verizon! We've never heard that before.

    Verizon, would it be too much to ask you to fix my blackberry GPS that you crippled? Or are you planning on killing that feature on all the android devices as well?
    hazpoco
  • Verizon and Android are the perfect platform

    As a mobile/iPhone developer I have been dreaming of the combination of America's Largest Network, with Google's open phone architecture. If people have been jealous of their friends' iPhone "app-titude", just wait until developers jump on board to develop for a much larger audience than AT&T. I foresee a large migration of indie developers to the android platform.
    rgeade
  • RE: The Android army: Verizon Wireless, Google ink collaboration pact; Promise 'innovative applications'

    well I guess that kills the rumors of apple and verizon. I still may go from vreizon to att as I'd like to use an iphone to see what it offers
    ljmace1953
  • VZW is taking the lead in openness????

    Having been engaged with VZW in attempting to bring some innovative ideas and systems in the mobile space to market, I am stunned that VZW is breaking down after all of these years and attempts by myself and others to partner with them to bring innovative and reliable services to their customers.

    Then again, after some years, it took IBM to lend credibility to the microcomputer market. We'll see if VZW can deliver the lucrative business user to powerful mobile-based applications who are not RIM-based.

    caljindo@gmail.com
    blhayes@...
    • it's a smart move

      and one which should allow them to take business away from their competitors.

      Now let's hope these Android devices live up to the hype. Im looking forward to trying one.
      otaddy
  • So, can we expect an iPhone clone?

    I hope so. Verizon wireless is the ONLY one that works reliably at my house.
    ron.cleaver@...
  • So that's where my monthly service $ is going...

    I'll consider switching to a provider that doesn't jack my rates up in order to subsidize a particular phone vendor so heavily. Ridiculous in this case, given the deep pockets at GOOG -- let them fund it!!!
    Techboy_z
    • no rate changes....

      i'm a verizon customer service rep, and i can honestly say we have not jacked your rates up. hell, they haven't changed in like 4 years. we left the existing prices, and added even more choices.
      TacoSauce
      • If that's true...

        Maybe VZ should be *cutting* its rates, if it's been able to maintain or increase margins without raising rates! Heaven knows we've seen enough fees and taxes added on!! Universal service fees. 911 taxes. Etc.
        Techboy_z
  • Good, but not great

    I mean really, I'm a pc when it comes to full size computing, but when it comes to a complete moblie solution, iphone is as close to number one as it gets. Maybe in the beginning we could say that iphone wasn't for business, but not anymore. I haven't tried Google Android yet, so I'll refrain from opining on the matter. I'm happy to see GA devices coming to Verizon. I will be buying one to hold me over until the iphone gets here, because I will never, ever go to ATT.
    jtgsi
  • Good news... with caveats

    I love the idea. I would have an Android phone aleady, if T-Mobil actually reached my house. But no, I'm on Verizon, which works here.

    The big question is whether Verizon will really agree to an open platform on their network. This seems second only to Microsoft suddenly embracing FOSS... Verizon didn't simply not offer open system, they have opposed it at every turn.

    Some years back, I had a Motorola RAZR from Verizon. They had hacked a version of Moto's GUI to essentially remove most features, and implement the same "Red interface" they put on every cheap phone. They specifically removed Java, BlueTooth OBEX, and other somewhat advanced features you could get with any other RAZR. They even refused to allow the phone to change from "unauthorized" chargers... including a USB port on a laptop (which does work.. a friend's AT&T branded RAZR had no such limitations).

    Then there's the network.. would they really rival the iPhone with unlimited network use (well, essentially unlimited), or will they impose the common useage limits... 1GB, 5GB, whatever, that take away the main advantage you get from an iPhone: always online, all the time, no questions.

    I'll probably look into this as soon as they have a decent Android phone... it needs a memory slot and replaceable battery, two things Apple won't offer, ever. But I'm going over that fine print with my 70x microscope....
    Hazydave