Back in November 2007, Verizon announced they would open their network to “any device” meeting a “minimum technical standard”. On Wednesday, Verizon held an Open Development Conference where exciting details emerged… details that will greatly benefit both Verizon and Android.
Prior to today’s conference, Verizon has been considered one of the more protective carriers when it comes to their network. Buy a Verizon approved phone, use the Verizon network with Verizon software and Verizon applications that restrict you from spending money with anyone but Verizon. All that will change in the very near future… suddenly Verizon is on the other end of the spectrum, moving from cell phone isolationist to mobile laissez fair diplomat.
According to several sources, a simple, inexpensive 4-week process would get a handset maker certified and able to sell their phones for use on Verizon’s network. What handset maker wouldn’t want access to Verizon’s huge customer base? That means more phones, more options, more applications and more openness. That means Android.
With the first Android handsets planned for later in 2008, it wouldn’t be a surprise if every single Android enabled handset is put through Verizon’s qualification test. That would open HUGE purchasing floodgates for Verizon. Imagine how many current Verizon customers would want to jump on board with one of the first Android handsets if for nothing more than to be part of the madness. That could mean a lot of 2-year contract extensions…
The bottom line is that Android is a game changer. If it unleashes with the type of glowing reviews and mass consumer appeal that some are predicting, people will be snatching them up furiously. Its a mobile movement for which people would be willing to change carriers. And even though Verizon isn’t a part of the Open Handset Alliance, they don’t want to miss out on the action and they certainly don’t want to lose customers to other carriers because of Android.
By allowing any device to potentially become available on the Verizon network, the company will vastly widen its appeal. Tearing down the same walled-gardens whose purpose was to protect competitive advantages is now ensuring that Verizon remains competitive. The convergence of mobile and internet worlds is making openness, choices and variety a few of the major selling points.
The mobile world is changing and Android the pioneering force that will demand other companies adapt to the new consumer-centric business model or go the way of the dinosaurs. Make no mistake, the timing of Verizon’s decision to open their network and the upcoming debut of Android are not coincidental – Verizon realizes what is at stake here. Android is the wave of the future and Verizon would much rather ride it in than get smacked by a tsunami.
Meanwhile, if the Google Android team are the partying types, it wouldn’t be surprising if the kegger is still going on. For Android to be successful they HAVE to get Android enabled handsets into the hands of consumers. That difficult task has suddenly been reduced to a cake walk as most of the Android handsets will likely be available to all Verizon customers when they debut.
What’s left on the Android “to-do list” to guarantee its success? Developers need to be making sweet applications that consumers feel they need to have. If that wasn’t already happening with the Android Developers Challenge you can bet your butt that bells are going off in their head right now.
Piece by piece the Android puzzle is being put together. And this development, my friends, is like finding a few of the cornerstone pieces on which you can begin making references to fill in the middle. Alright all you Android Developers… time to kick it into high gear!