Verizon: Inner Android Conflict


mcadamsVerizon Wireless is rumored to be launching an Android Phone later this year, presumably the Motorola Morrison during the holiday season. A year ago I said Verizon would have an Android phone… and they will. All these years, Verizon has been holding back their customers from access to readily available features and capabilities in the name of profit. Now the world has the Android Market, iPhone App store, BlackBerry App World, WebOS App Catalog and a load of other piggyback app stores put out by the “me-too” companies of the world.

Verizon Wireless wants in. At some point the light bulb went off… only it went off for the wrong reason: YEARS ago Verizon could have given customers access to a whole ton of applications and features that would drastically and freely improve their mobile experience. Instead they saw dollar signs and said, “You want it? You pay for it.” Now Verizon is seeing all the money in these free/paid combo apps stores and wants in. I think the folks with the right idea are Google who essentially say, “Lets make something the user absolutely loves and then monetize it.”

Perhaps the two main business approaches above can find a happy medium… but right now the concept of a happy medium is a bit scary. On July 28th, Verizon is hosting the Verizon Developer Community Conference in San Jose, California. At that event, the company will be talking about the Joint Innovation Lab, an apparent “common software standard” so that application developers will be able to build ONE application that works across all phones that use the JIL technology.

Uhhh… sound familiar? It sounds like a few things to me:

  • It sounds like Android Market only exclusive to Verizon Wireless instead of being available on any carrier. Did I mention Verizon is rumored to be launching an Android Phone this year?
  • It sounds like the iPhone App Store only exclusive to Verizon Wireless instead of being available on any carrier. Did I mention Verizon is rumored to be launching the iPhone sometime in 2010?
  • It sounds like WebOS App Catalog only exclusive to Verizon Wireless instead of being available on any carrier. Did I mention Verizon is rumored to be launching the Palm Pre or Palm Eos in early 2010?
  • It sounds like BlackBerry App World only exclusive to Verizon Wireless instead of being available on any carrier. Did I mention Verizon already has BlackBerry phones with App World on them?

Even with 4 potential app store competitors on its own network, Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam seems to think that the company’s App Store – which will be a joint standard with Vodafone (Europe), SoftBank (Japan) and China Mobile (China) – will be the obvious choice for developers and consumers:

“I am not here to bash anybody, but if I could write one application that could touch every iPhone customer or one billion customers, who am I going to write for?”

That “1 Billion” figure combines VZW, Vodafone, SoftBank and China Mobile subscriber numbers. Someone forgot to tell McAdam that:

  • Not every phone they sell will be JIL capable
  • They speak 3 different langauages in those 4 countries so 1 application won’t do the trick

This direction isn’t surprising based on what we already know about Verizon Wireless… but it is concerning. It is obvious the company does not want to let go of its slipping grip of application and software distribution. In fact, it wants to regain footing and dominate. So when a Verizon Android phone launches later this year, what makes you think they’ll allow it to be as open as possible with unbridled access to Android Market?

Maybe they will. I hope they will. But another carrier launching another mobile store means more fragmentation. From a business standpoint they kind of HAVE to launch an App Store of some sort because in the end, they’re right – it has too much long-term profit potential. But their time may have passed. Lets just hope they let the game play out fairly instead of trying to handicap their own Android Phone to make their own JIL offering look superior. In the end that would only hurt themselves and their customers.

The success of Android is inevitable… please don’t delay the inevitable and launch a half-baked Android Phone, Verizon: we beg you.


Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

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  1. Engadget has also reported that Verizon will be removing individual app stores from their devices to make room for this new app store; they specifically cited Blackberry App World and Windows Mobile Marketplace in all future devices. Kinda sucks. I’ll probably continue targetting Android Market though, and make my stuff available also via SlideMe, etc. for those shackled to Verizon.

  2. Verizon can curl up in a ball so small they implode for all I care.

    As you noted in your article they have been robbing their customers blind for years.

    They don’t deserve negative press, they deserve zero press. They deserve to be shunned and forgotten.

  3. shouldn’t be using .bmp files on the net :)

  4. Just had a look at JIL. It’s just HTML/JavaScript pushed into a widget. Fine for a Weather widget, but you won’t be writing any graphic intensive games using it.

  5. You can make 1 app contain multiple languages in Android.

  6. Verizon is like a headless ogre, barreling down the path of self destruction.
    Until now, with their marketing budget and coverage and plethora of flip phones, they’ve been enjoying tremendous success.
    Heading into the smartphone revolution still mired in their fascist ways, they’re driving over the cliff.
    The cell phone market is about to experience near-100% turnover, but the big-4 are still too stupid to realize it.
    10 years from now, do you think these idiots will still get away with charging extra money for transmitting 500 byte messages?
    Of course not. So, you either lead the way and win, or follow and fail.
    If I’m the CEO of T-Mobile (currently the least evil of the four), I’d launch every Android phone that left a factory, cut over to FREE TEXT MESSAGING, and absolutely blitz the airwaves. Someone will do it eventually, might as well be the first while the rest of the idiots are still figuring out how they can charge for RINGTONES.

  7. I’m a Verizon user and I like the network but they are being stubborn. I would love to see the HTC Hero on Verizon with Wifi and the works….But I’m sure VZ will kink it somehow….

  8. We won’t waste our time with Verizon. Android Market works. App store if u are a bully.

    Sorry Verizon. Come main stream or loose customers.

  9. The Tmobile logo is clearly visible in the Motorola Morrison picture in the “Phones” section of this website. Why are you spreading obviously false information?

  10. Is it true that tmobile is going to merge with Verizon?

  11. SmartPhones potentially turn carriers into dumb pipes. Carriers want to resist that. Resistance is futile. With the Wimax+Voip combo their precious air waves won’t be so precious after all !

  12. epic fail for those of us in the midwest where alltel still has the best service. i’m still pissed they sold out to verizon but, honestly, a gimped android phone is still an android phone. now i just have to wait for the calgary or morrison to drop :(

  13. Rhomobile already allows you to write one program to be crossplatform across most major smartphone OSes. I wish that people would stop trying to make their own solutions to problems that have already been solved. This leads to a lack of standardization which is bad for the consumer and developer.

  14. Darnell, I sincerely hope not!

  15. I’ll be pissed if Google folds to Verizon.
    I’m TOTALLY down with a Verizon \ T-Mobile merger!
    Let Verizon have their own App Store and branding. They deserve it. They actually make make good software. Most users won’t know or take the time to change it. If Verizon locks down Android (e.g. I can’t use a different App Store) I’m LEAVING Verizon despite their network. I’m sick of Verizon controlling the device I, repeat I, paid for!!!! As a consumer I deserve the right to take my phone to a different mobile phone service. That goes double for the cell phone makers. I’ve leaved with Verizon’s “lock down the phone” FAR too long and will not stand for it any longer. I’ll have my unlocked Android phone this Spring one way or another.

  16. I echo these sympathies. I welcome another source for applications when I get a Verizon Android phone later this year, but don’t disappoint me. If you lock down my phone like you have with all my other Verizon phones, if you cut off access to the Android Marketplace or just downloading apps myself, I won’t accept that, and I will leave for another network, even if it is more expensive.

  17. Verizon needs to not only jump on the Android band wagon they need to own it. VZW has a chance to score big, if they stop thinking like an old TelCo and start thinking like application providers who own customers because of their great service and network coverage and application availability.
    To lock-down their system will be death to them…I’ll take my $300 plus monthly bill and pay it to some other carrier if Verizon locks-down the Android.

  18. Verizon sucks. I hope the screw up their android phones just like all the other $#itty phones they offer. Taking out the Real GPS for a cellular assisted one so you have to use their VZW Navigator….They Suck ass and will continue to suck ass until they stop thinking they should own your phone. Hell, if they could, they would come to your house and make you all get VZW tattooed on your forehead. And make you wear red and black. BTW that VZW Android device will be crapped in red and black all over the place. Im sure theyll expect Google to make the Android Character Red and Black, as well as the App Store.
    Facist SOB’s Eat S#it and Die Verizon!!!!!

  19. I currently am an AT&T customer. I also use a Blackberry Curve. I hate AT&T’s network. I never have a good signal. The data service is very slow, if it works at all. My phone is constantly dropping calls, even in Manhattan. The Blackberry app selection is also very skimpy. It’s the opposite end of the spectrum from the iPhone.

    I was planning to switch to Verizon whenever they come out with their Android phone. But now, after reading all this about Verizon, I don’t know if that is a good idea. Is there a phone company out there that doesn’t limit capabilities of the phone and has a good service area? Who should I switch to?

  20. As TIM said on Sept. 23rd … Is there a phone company out there that doesn’t limit capabilities of the phone and has a good service area? Who should I switch to?


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