Was That 'We're Planning on Using Android, Mwahahaha’? Or 'We're Planning on Using Android, Bwahahaha’?
The sudden policy U-turns Verizon’s taken in the past week are enough to give you whiplash, aren’t they? First it promised to open its network to devices and applications other than its own. Now it’s talking about supporting Google’s open mobile-software platform Android.
Sounds a little odd coming from a company that once prohibited the use of unlocked cellphones on its network and capped Bluetooth usage. But Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam says it’s so. “We’re planning on using Android,” McAdam told Business Week. “Android is an enabler of what we do.”
Or perhaps what Verizon might plan to do–like habituate the public to per-byte pricing. As Silicon Alley Insider’s Dan Frommer recently noted: “Verizon has no intention of turning itself into dumb pipe. You can expect service plans for non-Verizon phones to include data-network fees based on usage–meaning those ‘free’ calls could cost a bundle.”
Course, the least skeptical among us might say that openness just makes good business sense. “It gets them out ahead of regulators who might force open networks, but on less favorable terms,” analyst Avi Greengart told Wired. “If Google’s Android takes off, and Verizon gets Android on their network, it could also mean the company sees a whole host of new services. The hope is that there are going to be a whole new range of devices and apps that the carriers can’t really predict in their central planning, mass-market business models.”