Saturday, May 15, 2010

Verizon and Google Team Up for Android Tablet

Verizon and Google Partner on TabletIn a bid to catch up with rival AT&T Mobility and compete on the tablet front against the iPad, Verizon Wireless has announced plans to launch a tablet based on Google's Android platform as well as a host of other connected devices. While neither Verizon nor Google would confirm the hardware partnership, Verizon CEO McAdam mentioned Google in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

"What do we think the next big wave of opportunities are?" Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam said in the interview. "We're working on tablets together, for example. We're looking at all the things Google has in its archives that we could put on a tablet to make it a great experience."

The move certainly strengthens the relationship between Verizon and Google which was forged last fall when the two announced a multi-year collaboration on devices and services. However, it remains to be seen how Apple will respond to the news of a new tablet powered by Google, which already competes with Apple in wireless software and mobile advertising. Odds are Apple is a little less than pleased and it will be interesting to see how they respond to Verizon's request to carry the iPhone on their network. Perhaps this announcement is merely a ploy to give Verizon more leverage in negotiations with Apple or perhaps Apple has already denied Verizon access to their iPhone.

Regardless, an Android tablet on Verizon's network is not entirely surprising. At the Consumer Electronics Show last January Motorola demonstrated a prototype Android tablet running on Verizon's upcoming LTE network. It was also noted in the demonstration that if the tablet was commercialized and produced, the device could be released for sale as early as fall of this year. Verizon has already admitted to being “handicapped” by its CDMA network but McAdam promised that the new devices would be available on the company’s new LTE 4G network, which arrives early next year.

As of right now, Verizon and Google are in it together for the long haul and it looks like Apple will be facing much stiffer competition with the tablet than it ever saw in the iPhone and iPod markets. Now that Android tablets have been confirmed and an HP/Palm tablet all but unannounced, there will undoubtedly be an all-out tablet war. Right now Apple has the very distinct advantage seeing as they have already released a matured iPad and analysts estimate that it will take one to two years for competitors to reach the same functionality. Lets just hope that we as consumers see some benefit from this tablet war.

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