Verizon president: Google's Android dovetails with Verizon's open access

Verizon gave some hints late last week that it may be willing to do more than just welcome Google's Android handset environment into its foray of "open access" devices, but conceivably embrace it outright.

NEW YORK CITY (BetaNews) - While Verizon hasn't officially announced support for Google's Android, Verizon President Denny Strigl has acknowledged that he sees the emerging Linux-based development environment as meshing well with Verizon's recently unveiled plans to provide open access on its current third generation (3G) and emerging fourth-generation (4G) networks.

In a talk at last week's USB financial conference, Strigl did not say that the Verizon Wireless division will join the Open Handset Alliance (OHA) -- a group of 34 companies that are publicly backing Android -- and he did not address whether VZW will sell Android-enabled Google phones.

But he did indicate that he is generally in favor of Android's efforts to provide an open source development environment for mobile phones, as an approach to providing a consistent set of applications that will run across multiple vendors' mobile devices.

"This is one where we will not be first in line," he said, when questioned during the lunch-time presentation about Verizon's support for Android.

Yet in the absence of initiatives to open up the mobile environment, developers can enter a specific vendor's handset development environment only "with the permission of the landlord," Strigl said.

As a result, according to Strigl, developers face fragmented market opportunities, and consumers buying mobile devices tend to get locked in to whatever set of applications the manufacturer has managed to produce for that particular device.

Verizon "has always tried to be consumer friendly," Strigl contended.

Meanwhile, Verizon has also wanted to send a "signal to the developer community, in particular," he said. "Our signal is that we will have a worldwide (open) development platform."

Verizon is sending that signal by moving its VZW division from CDMA to GSM and LTE, he said. GSM provides "open access as compared to CDMA," according to the Verizon president.

Strigl pointed out, too, that Android has emerged from the LAMP open source project.

Some analysts also perceive big benefits in Android. In a recent report, researchers at ABI Research cite the pros and cons of both Android in particular and mobile Linux environments in general.

One of the main benefits to Android is the cost advantages that can be created through economies of scale, according to Stuart Carlaw, ABI Research director.

These economies of scale will emanate from Android's widespread backing from vendors, carriers and software developers, Carlaw predicted.

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