More details have emerged on Verizon and Google’s partnership for the Android platform. Announced yesterday, the initial press release was short on specifics, stating that the claimed “groundbreaking agreement” will see both companies devote “substantial resources to accelerate delivery of leading-edge innovation that will put unique applications in the hands of consumers quickly.” It added that Verizon Wireless and Google plan to co-develop several Android-based devices that will be pre-loaded with new applications from both parties as well as third-party developers. Verizon said it will launch Android phones from “leading handset manufacturers,” starting in the next few weeks.
What is now clearer is that Verizon expects to launch two Android phones this year, with the first one already close to release. Likely manufacturers are Motorola and HTC. The partnership will also include future production of netbooks and PDAs. In addition, Verizon and Google sought to play up the open nature of Android applications compared to the tight control that Apple exercises over its software. The first Android phones from Verizon will support the Google Voice software application, which allows consumers to make low-priced international calls and which Apple has yet to approve for its iPhone. Certainly, the deal gives Google its biggest endorsement yet from a mobile phone company for its Android operating system. Verizon’s rivals T-Mobile USA and Sprint Nextel already support Android devices (as do other carriers around the world) but no operator has displayed such major public commitment.