Verizon to support Google Android
In the days since Verizon's unexpected about-face on the issue of open access, there has been a lot of speculation as to whether Verizon would support Google's Android platform. Though it seemed like a long shot, many hoped that Verizon would at least certify Android handsets for use on its network--if not outright sell them directly to consumers. Well, Android lovers, it looks like your wish has been granted: Verizon will be supporting Android, though exactly how remains unclear. "We're planning on using Android," Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam told BusinessWeek. "Android is an enabler of what we do."
As McAdam sees it, this isn't a change of heart; rather, Verizon was simply waiting it out to see if Android would be worth their time. "To get into that press release really didn't do anything," McAdam said of Verizon's decision not to join the Open Handset Alliance. "We needed to understand the details of that operating system." After digging through the SDK, however, the folks at Verizon were apparently impressed enough that they wanted to support the platform. "Clearly the Android system gives a lot of developers the opportunity to develop applications for a wide range of handsets," McAdam said.
So...what's going on here? According to McAdam, Verizon was planning on going open all along, it was just a matter of time. That's a little hard to believe, however, given that the company has been fighting the FCC's open access rulings on the 700Mhz spectrum auction tooth and nail. So what's Verizon trying to pull? Some have suggested that the company is simply trying to appease the FCC while scaring off anyone who might challenge them in the auction and that all this talk of openness is just that--talk. However, I'd like to give Verizon the benefit of the doubt: I think they simply saw that open access will become an inevitability in the mobile industry and wisely decided to evolve rather than fight it. If that's the case, we could be on the cusp of a sea change in the industry. Et tu, AT&T?
For more on the announcement:
- see this BusinessWeek article