Updated: Google and Verizon Wireless buried some ghosts of discontent Oct. 6 by announcing plans to co-develop smartphones and other devices based on Google’s Android mobile operating system.
Verizon Wireless said it will unveil two Verizon-branded phones in the next few weeks that will be preloaded with applications from Google, Verizon Wireless and third-party developers.
Applications from the Google Android Market will be available on the phones at launch, and Verizon Wireless will support Google Voice on its Android phones. The devices will also run Google Maps with Latitude and Google Search by Voice applications.
The move is interesting for a few reasons. The news seems targeted to hijack attention from today’s launch of Microsoft’s Windows Mobile 6.5, which eWEEK covered here.
Also, while Google and Verizon Wireless said the deal will combine the speed of the nation’s largest and most reliable 3G network-Verizon Wireless boasts 85 million U.S. customers-with the Android platform, it is also a bullet in the direction of AT&T, the sole provider of the world-leading Apple iPhone smartphone.
Moreover, the deal comes less than two years after Google irked Verizon by bidding on the 700MHz wireless spectrum, which drove up the bidding price for the phone carrier and spurred the Federal Communications Commission to order that the winner must enable any devices and applications to run on it. Verizon eventually won the class C spectrum it coveted, but the move was largely seen as a power play win by Google.