Verizon Wireless confirmed it is working with Google to offer consumers a tablet computer based on Google's Android operating system, putting Apple's iPad squarely in their crosshairs.
Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam told the Wall Street Journal (paywall warning) about its tablet plans May 11. Verizon spokespeople confirmed the plans but declined to say who is making the machine, when the machine will appear or what it will feature.
Google, the only vendor to generate more tablet talk than the smash hit iPad, was even more noncommittal about an Android tablet. When asked for more information about the device, the spokesperson told eWEEK May 11:
"The Android smartphone platform was designed from the beginning to scale downward to feature phones and upward to MID and netbook-style devices. We look forward to seeing what contributions are made and how an open platform spurs innovation, but we have nothing to announce at this time."
Given the success of the iPad, it's no surprise that Google would rev its engine to get Android on a tablet. After all, Google followed Apple's iPhone with Android on smartphones, and its efforts have led to three dozen Android smartphones in the market and counting.
The iPad leverages a version of the iPhone OS and features the same apps Apple offers to iPhone users through its App Store.
It's not a stretch to conclude an Android tablet from Verizon will feature much of the Google Apps software loaded onto the Android-based Droid smartphones it sells, including the Motorola Droid, HTC Droid Eris and the HTC Droid Incredible.
These devices include such Web services as YouTube, Google Maps Navigation, Google Search by voice and other apps Google aims to put in front of mobile phone users.
The Google-Verizon tablet is obviously a counter to the 3G-enabled version of the iPad Apple offers through sole iPhone partner AT&T.
Verizon doesn't want to get frozen out of the tablet market the way it initially lost out on the newfangled smartphone craze triggered by the iPhone.
Less clear is how Verizon's latest bedding with Google and Android will affect the alleged deal to get the iPhone, let alone the iPad, on Verizon's network.
Meanwhile, if the early reports are any indication, the development of Android-based tablets is comparable to the evolution of Android on multiple smartphones. The New York Times reported last month that Google was working on a tablet.