The collaboration of Google and Verizon Wireless could be just as formidable as the combination of Apple and AT&T in extending the mobile Internet, analysts said.
Google and Verizon Wireless Oct. 6 agreed to co-create smartphones, PDAs, netbooks, application and services, effectively pairing the Internet search and Web services leader and the No. 1 U.S. phone carrier, with 87.7 million customers.
In November, Verizon will announce support for two Android smartphones, with one possibly coming from Motorola, joining Android phones from T-Mobile and Sprint.
Verizon and Google executives on a conference call Oct. 6 said the phones will be preloaded with Android Market and will support Google applications such as Google Voice, a call management application Apple rejected because of features that competed with its iPhone and that AT&T vilified for blocking calls.
The partnership will challenge Apple and AT&T, which together have shipped more than 50 million iPhone and iPod Touch devices. These gadgets are backed by Apple's iPhone App Store, which has 85,000 applications and topped the 2 billion download mark last week.
Enderle Group analyst Rob Enderle said the deal is good for both companies because Verizon Wireless remains the best of the U.S. carriers in terms of coverage and user satisfaction. Google, meanwhile, wants to own the smartphone user and will get that platform on the nation's largest wireless data network, whose engineers Google CEO Eric Schmidt praised for their grasp of scale.
IDC analyst Scott Ellison likes that the companies have put aside their past quarrels over wireless spectrum, with Verizon embracing Android and Google's applications and Google embracing Verizon Wireless as the No. 1 network to help Android and Google Apps proliferate.
Having Android Market preinstalled on Verizon Wireless' Android devices will lure developers and validate Android as a solid ecosystem for application development, according to Ellison, who said:
""Verizon Wireless is clearly trying to find a counterweight to Apple, notwithstanding recent rumors that [it] may be the U.S. launch partner for an Apple tablet device. And it is increasingly clear as we close out the decade that it is really only Google and Android that offer such a PR counterweight in the U.S. based upon speed of innovation, appeal to the developer community, and brand perception.""