Google and Verizon Wireless on Tuesday fired a shot across the bow of Apple and AT&T, along with every other smartphone maker and telecom. The two companies announced a partnership whereby Android would be carried on AT&T's network. Verizon Wireless has the largest number of subscribers in the country and, arguably, one of the better networks available. Google CEO Eric Schmidt called the partnership a milestone, indicating just how important it was to the search engine giant to get its Android operating system on the network.
Apple and AT&T -- along with Palm, Research In Motion (RIM) and Sprint -- should be worried. While it hasn't been perfect, typically when Google decides to throw its weight behind something, that project ends up being successful. So while Android has until now been somewhat of a niche OS, the partnership with Verizon is serving notice to AT&T and Apple. Here's why the partnership makes sense:
1. Exposes More Potential Developers To Android
Having a bigger subscriber network inherently means that more people will have the opportunity to be exposed to the hardware and the smartphone OS. While not everyone will immediately begin to develop apps for Android Market, the wider reach will undoubtedly touch some independent developers that hadn't considered creating applications. Of course, Apple's App Store has an enormous head start, but with more subscribers and more development potential, the Android Market will continue to grow and to offer good applications that take advantage of the hardware and network.
2. Strikes A Blow At Apple And AT&T
The acrimony between Apple and Google continues to grow. Apple reportedly rejected the Google Voice app. Before that, Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, stepped down from the board of directors for the Cupertino crew. Meanwhile, AT&T is counting on the iPhone to help bolster its numbers and compete against Verizon Wireless. Now, with Google and Verizon joining forces, each company strikes a blow at its respective competitors. Android phones gain the power of the Verizon network and the telecom gets to put "Google" next to its name.
3. Leads To New Hardware
Both Google and Verizon Wireless on Tuesday pledged to invest in the smartphone market, meaning that the number of Android smartphone models is likely to increase significantly. Currently, there are about nine different Android handsets on the market from various manufacturers. Verizon earlier this year revealed plans to add two more to the lineup. But, with Google and Verizon each devoting money to the hardware development, it's likely that more smartphones will hit the market, and quickly.
4. Includes More People Than T-Mobile
While it may seem obvious, it is important for Google to get its Android OS off of a smaller telecom such as T-Mobile and onto the behemoth that is Verizon Wireless. The simple fact that there are more subscribers raises the chances that a consumer will decide to opt for an Android OS-enabled smartphone, especially if Apple doesn't bring its iPhone to the telecom. The larger pool of Verizon customers may mean that some will decide to try out a new smartphone.
5. Will Lead To Better Coverage
One of the reoccurring complaints of Apple iPhone users is that the coverage provided by the network can be spotty or downright frustrating. With Google deciding to partner with Verizon Wireless, customers will be able to experience the full speed and capabilities of an Android-equipped phone without having to worry about dropping to a slower network or regularly losing a connection.