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Google teams with Verizon and promises a family of Android mobile devices

October 6, 2009 |  3:01 pm
Google-verizon
Google CEO Eric Schmidt, left, and Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam. Credit: Verizon
In the face of the iPhone's popularity, Verizon Wireless and Google Inc. said they are forming a partnership to create new smart phones using Google's Android operating system and the Internet firm's applications.

Verizon said it expects to unveil two new Google phones this month, but said those initial entries would be just the first part of a "multiyear roadmap."

The partnership of the two technology heavyweights -- the nation's largest wireless network and the online search leader -- comes as the fight for dominance in the mobile smart phone market grows increasingly contentious.

A spat between Google and technology rival Apple Inc. has escalated in recent weeks over Apple's refusal to allow customers to use Google Voice, the company's telephone application, on the popular iPhone. Google told the Federal Communications Commission that Apple rejected the app for competitive reasons, but Apple denied that, saying it is still studying Google's application.

AT&T, the sole wireless carrier for the iPhone, added fuel to the fire last month when it complained to the FCC that Google Voice blocked calls to certain areas, raising the possibility that Google could be in violation of FCC rules.

Verizon Wireless Chief Executive Lowell McAdam told analysts today that the company would support Google Voice. "You either have an open device or not, and this will be open," he said, adding that Google Voice would be available when Verizon's first Google devices come out.

Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt gave plaudits to Verizon for its willingness to adopt Android, which, unlike Apple's system, is an open development platform over which Verizon would have less control. That decision, Schmidt said, was "enormously surprising given the history and the old-line nature of telcos.

"At Verizon, somehow the leadership has decided to embrace a different philosophy which works very well with the Internet," he said.

-- David Sarno

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