Lots of talk today over the announced deal between Google and Verizon Wireless. For those unfamiliar, the loosely defined deal involves Verizon officially embracing the Android operating system to power the mobile devices that run on its network.
Cutting through the vagaries of the press release, the following bit sheds some light:
Verizon Wireless and Google plan to co-develop several Android-based devices that will be pre-loaded with innovative applications from both parties as well as third-party developers. The family of Android phones on the Verizon Wireless network will come from leading handset manufacturers.
This follows a few months of device announcements and public statements of Android adoration from ODMs such as HTC and Motorola. It’s also yet another event to get us closer to Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s previous comments that we should see 20+ Android based devices by the end of the year.
There is no doubt in my mind that Android will be big. Most of it’s growth however, will come at the expense of Windows mobile — the previous go-to OS for smart phone manufacturers — not Apple. Still, you’ll hear the requisite Android vs. iPhone chatter following this announcement.
To be fair, an Android/Verizon courtship does seem to square off against iPhone/ATT. You have to wonder, in fact, if this means anything for the longstanding speculation around the iPhone’s move to Verizon after the AT&T contract expires next year. This certainly could have an effect.
But more to the point, what this deal means is scale for Android and better technology for Verizon. The former means more consumer touch points and mobile searches, while the latter will be important for the carrier to minimize churn (read: people switching to AT&T for the iPhone).
Despite the strengths of Verizon’s network, it’s been held back to a certain degree by the reletively lackluster devices and software/apps that run on its network (Blackberry Storm doesn’t cut it). Today’s deal changes that, both symbolically and (eventually) in earnest.