Verizon Wireless formally unveiled its V Cast Apps application store Sept. 21, opening a new rivalry with partner Google and its Android Market.
The No. 1 wireless carrier has enjoyed a fruitful partnership with Google, shipping millions of its Droid line of smartphones based on the search engine’s Android operating system.
Google mobile applications are prominently featured on Droid devices, as is the Android Market, Google’s gateway to more than 85,000 free and paid apps from Android developers.
V Cast Apps, which sports more than 5,000 developers, will now compete with Google for Android developers, confirmed Greg Haller, vice president of consumer solutions for Verizon Wireless, at the company’s Verizon Developer Community conference in Las Vegas Tuesday.
“V Cast Apps is about offering choices to consumers, and about making the overall apps marketplace more competitive,” Haller told the crowd. “We’ll help customers find apps and decide how to get them.”
Haller then moved to set the record straight. When news about V Cast Apps for Android leaked last week, bloggers and pundits speculated that Verizon was trying to take over users’ phones by offering its own apps.
In the process, the carrier would marginalize the Android Market by controlling the applications that appear on its Android smartphones.
Haller said this is not true, pointing to products on its BlackBerry devices and Google Maps on its Droid devices as a model for open competition. For example, Google Maps offers navigation functionality that competes with Verizon’s Navigator app.
“We’re not limiting in any way what’s available to customers, in the way of apps stores on the phones or access to apps through the browser,” Haller said. “We’re giving [customers] options while at the same time giving developers broader distribution and the opportunity to more effectively reach customers.”
Haller’s comments came three weeks after Verizon Wireless opened binary submission of apps for Verizon’s HTC Droid Incredible, Motorola Droid and Motorola Droid X.