If the latest rumors of a tablet tie-up with Google are true, Verizon Wireless seems to be looking to be to Google's Android platform what AT&T is to Apple's iPhone and eventually, its iPad.
Google and Verizon are becoming bosom buddies. Verizon already enjoys offering phones based on Google's popular Android mobile operating system, backing devices such as the Motorola Droid and the HTC Droid Incredible with a $100 million marketing campaign.
Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam provided more fodder for speculation May 11 when he confirmed the company is working on a tablet with Google based on Android.
No other details were provided and Google declined to dignify McAdam's comments, providing only a general comment about Android being an open-source platform, with vendors free to do what they wish with it.
Still, the mere mention of a Verizon-Google tablet made industry watchers drool at the anticipation of some sorely needed competition for the iPad.
In selling more than 1 million devices in 28 days, the iPad triggered d??Â«j??Ã from June 2007, when Apple successfully launched its first iPhone. That device took more than two months to sell 1 million units, making the iPad's first month of sales all the more impressive.
While the news of a Verizon-Google tablet attracted a lot of attention in the media, analysts largely shrugged.
IDC analyst Al Hilwa said he expects all the major smartphone players to have pads leveraging their app-stores and SDKs in the next 12 months, largely thanks to the iPad.
"[The tablet computer] has been established as successful and desirable by users because it leverages the smartphone app distribution channels vendors have set up already and it leverages the same or similar application development models and SDKs, etc... and of course it leverages the user interface, touch, etc...
"These devices are compelling universal content consumption devices and which straddle smartphone and PC and probably will end up growing at the expense of both. They are inherently connected so the carriers see an opportunity to sell data plans and want to land-grab the customers from their competitors."