One of the more interesting tidbits that came out of the Verizon Wireless and Google webcast today was Verizon’s announcement that their upcoming Android handsets will offer Google Voice. Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam commented, “… you either have an open device or not.”
It’s an interesting development considering most wireless carriers have shunned Google Voice for fear of its disruptive impact on lucrative voice revenue. Both Verizon and Google tried to position this announcement as a new step forward in openness. Google CEO Eric Schmidt almost was falling over himself in praising Verizon’s new attitude of openness which he found refreshing given most telcos “history and old line nature.” Anyone else find that ‘gushing’ a little ironic?
Apple and AT&T’s resistance to Google Voice for the iPhone is well documented. Verizon’s apparent embrace of Google Voice may alter that ongoing resistance. In fact if Verizon truly does embrace Google Voice, it may be the best representation of the fundamental shift in wireless that analysts have been discussing for some time now. That shift involves a move to a broadband data model, away from a voice centric model. Of course, the proof is in the pudding. We’ll have to see how this sudden embrace of Google Voice actually plays out in the market.
We won’t have to wait long. According to McAdams, “game changing” devices should be coming in a matter of weeks.