Verizon iPhone Likely to Reshape Smartphone Market

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2011-02-05 Print this article Print


Now that Verizon is in the market, those customers aren't staying away. But the next question is where they're coming from. Right now, these are all Verizon Wireless customers many of whom presumably have some sort of smart phone already. Are these Android users who weren't willing to go to AT&T? Potential smart phone customers who were sticking with their old flip phones, knowing that eventually they could get what they really want? 

Right now, we don't know because Verizon hasn't released that information. Probably it's some of both, as well as owners of other smartphones who want an upgrade and see this as the way they want to get one. I wouldn't be surprised to see a lot of old Windows Mobile 6.0 phones among those being replaced. 

The question after that is what this will do to Android sales. Verizon Wireless has been a major proponent of Android devices and its Droid line of smartphones has probably done more to advance the popularity of the Android OS than any other. Will Verizon keep the same focus on Android that it has so far? Or will the iPhone, and its huge popularity, change Verizon's focus to the Apple product? Again, I think there will be a little of both.  

Verizon's Droid line of phones, especially the later Droid X and Droid 2, are seriously good smartphones. They have a wealth of features not available to the iPhone, and they have their own loyal, perhaps even rabid, following. But it will be hard to resist the siren call of the iPhone. People will be switching to Verizon to have an iPhone and in the process loading up the 3G network with their data-hungry habits. 

The Android crowd, on the other hand, will be getting Verizon's 4G LTE phones in the near future - something that the iPhone can't do. At this point, we don't know whether the iPhone 5 will support LTE or not. That phone won't be introduced until this summer and it's too early to know exactly what features it will include. So it seems that there is something for both smart phone camps. The iPhone crowd will have what they want-an iPhone that's not from AT&T, and the Android camp will get 4G. Seems like a win-win for everyone, but especially for Verizon Wireless. 

Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazineÔÇÖs Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

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