Verizon Wireless took another firm step toward opening its network today after paying lip service to the idea for more than a year. In a joint announcement featuring the top executives at the carrier and Google, Verizon announced plans to begin selling devices that run on the Android operating system. For the time being, T-Mobile USA has had the exclusive on Android devices in the U.S., but other carriers are quickly coming to the table. After holding off since the first Google-powered device launched last October, it appears there will now be a close match to see which of the top four carriers will adopt the Android ecosystem last. The two companies didn’t offer many details about the forthcoming Android devices, but said a pair of devices will be released in the coming weeks. Verizon and Google said they will also work together on developing a suite of Android-powered products, including phones, netbooks and other devices.
Google’s chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt, who started talking with Verizon 18 months ago, said he was impressed by the carrier’s growing embrace of an open mobile Internet. “From the standpoint of working with Verizon, we knew of their reach, but we did not know they’d take a leadership on openness. The leadership [at Verizon] has started to embrace a different philosophy that works really well with the internet. They understand scale that is consistent with the way Google wants to work. Their 85 million subscribers is a big deal for us,“ he said during the teleconference, according to Tricia Duryee at mocoNews. RCR Wireless News’ Tracy Ford also pointed out that Verizon and Google have sparred over possible FCC mandates on open access. In 2007, Verizon filed a lawsuit against the FCC over the 700 MHz open-access provision while Google was lobbying heavily for the open-access mandate.