Verizon's first Android phone will have Google Voice

Today, Verizon and Google announced their partnership on the Android mobile platform, a collaboration that has long been expected, but has recently been bereft of new developments. Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam today said that the discussions between Google and Verizon began some 18 months ago but the timing of this announcement is in no way a reflection of "whatever's currently being discussed on the Hill." (i.e. The FCC's investigation of Apple's Google Voice rejection.)

Through this new partnership, Verizon Wireless will debut its first Android devices in the next couple of weeks. The carrier promised today they will provide "the best possible form factors from [Verizon's] partners in the hardware space, to bring those apps and services to market...there will be different form factors appealing to different audiences."

Google has already partnered with T-Mobile and Sprint in the United States, but Google CEO Eric Schmidt today had glowing praise for Verizon. "I think everybody knows...it's absolutely a fact that Verizon's data network is the best in the US by far," Schmidt said. "And I'm not talking ten percent here, I'm talking about many multiples: their reach, the scalability, and the performance...there's no question."

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Schmidt continued, "Certainly from the standpoint of working with Verizon, we had known of that reach. We did not know -- until we spent a lot of time getting to know each other -- that they'd also take a leadership position in openness; which was frankly enormously surprising given the history and the old line nature of telcos. Verizon, somehow, the leadership has decided to embrace a different philosophy, which works very, very well with the Internet. We also learned this is a network engineering company that makes it work, that they sweat the details, that they understand scale in a way that's very consistent with the way Google would like to work."

So the two companies sound like they have truly clicked. Naturally, this raises a huge question: Given the recent controversy surrounding Google Voice, AT&T and Apple, is Google Voice going to be part of this collaboration?

In a word, yes. Verizon Wireless' Lowell McAdam said, "You have either an open device or not, and this will be open and we expect to bring that application to market when we bring the first device out."

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