Verizon Wireless and Google have announced a new Android collaboration agreement that will “leverage the Verizon Wireless network and the best of the Android™ open platform to deliver leading-edge mobile applications, services and devices.”
The details are a little sketchy, but it appears as if Verizon and Google will push a major new initiative to feature Android on Verizon’s existing 3G and upcoming 4G networks.
My initial reaction is threefold:
- How does this new partnership affect Verizon’s ‘stubborn’ stance on app marketplaces, where they’ve been more interested in controlling that process than building a thriving ecosystem? At its core, Google’s Android movement is anti-Verizon Wireless – an open platform which encourages third party development, giving developers great autonomy. It will be interesting to see how those two cultures meld in this “Groundbreaking Agreement.”
- Secondly, I wonder whether this move is Verizon’s best answer to date to AT&T’s iPhone. If any platform is going to give Apple a run for its money, most would say Android is the front runner. By partnering with the largest U.S. wireless carrier, Android may get the audience it needs to really take the iPhone on. For Verizon, adding Android to the fold in a big way may even catapult them ahead of AT&T in terms of 3G prowess. Despite not having a real answer to the iPhone 3G, Verizon has done quite well. With a serious contender, they may leave AT&T in the dust and set themselves up to dominate in a 4G world
- Lastly, where does this put T-Mobile? Android was T-Mobile’s shining moment. While this agreement won’t prevent T-Mobile from executing its own Android strategy, it can’t help them to have the biggest guy on the block now get all the Android fanfare. After all Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, will be holding a press conference with Verizon on this subject. That gives you a sense of who Google thinks their real Android strategic partner is.
There’s a lot more to come from this announcement. We’ll know more after the joint press conference scheduled for 10:00a ET today. Stay tuned for more details.