Verizon plans to cast its hat into the mobile-multimedia ring, according to reports, which suggest the communications provider has developed an application that will stream live television programming onto iPads and other portable devices such as tablet PCs and laptops. The application will apparently be offered in 2011 to the company's FiOS customers.
"Technologically, there's no difference between this and the set-top box," Shaygan Kheradpir, Verizon's chief information officer, reportedly said while demonstrating the app for journalists.
Verizon is currently negotiating with content providers to allow their shows onto the additional screens. The company also plans a service for the fourth quarter of 2010 that will allow FiOS customers to rent or purchase movies and store them in the cloud.
The cable company has also attracted the ire of certain parts of the tech community in recent days. On Aug. 9, Verizon and Google announced a plan that would preserve net neutrality principles for the Internet delivered over broadband pipes, but neglected to mention wireless networks. Groups such as the Media and Democracy Coalition subsequently argued, in a variety of forums, that the omission opened the door for Verizon and other carriers creating a "fast lane" on the wireless Internet for companies willing to pay for it-a move they said would raise the risks and cost of entry for entrepreneurs and startups.
Four members of the U.S. Congress argued in an Aug. 16 letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski that Google and Verizon's net neutrality policy demanded a government response.
"Rather than expansion upon a proposal by two large communication companies with a vested financial interest in the outcome, formal FCC action is needed," those lawmakers wrote. They also called on the FCC to speed its National Broadband Plan, which would extend high-speed Internet to more areas of the country.
While Verizon stands to benefit from the iPad's popularity via this streaming service, Verizon Wireless-a separate company, operationally, and a joint venture between Verizon and Vodafone-could also potentially benefit from a relationship with Apple, if the latter makes good on longstanding rumors that it will release a Verizon iPhone in early 2011. According to a TechCrunch report that circulated online at the beginning of August, Apple is already lining up manufacturers for the device.
"Sources with knowledge of this entire situation have assured me that Apple has submitted orders for millions of units of Qualcomm CDMA chipsets for a Verizon iPhone run due in December," TechCrunch's Steve Cheney wrote in an Aug. 8 posting. "This production run would likely be for a January launch, and I'd bet the phone is nearly 100 [percent] consistent with the current iPhone 4 (with a fixed insulator on the antenna)."
The possibility also exists, of course, of an iPad on Verizon Wireless during that timeframe.