Google and Verizon Wireless held a press conference for their new deal to ship Android phones together.
- Two devices coming this year.
- Google app store will come pre-loaded on devices.
- The companies started talking 18 months ago.
- Google Voice will be supported.
- Verizon will make apps for Android. We assume this includes VCAST mobile video, etc.
Live notes as they happened:
10:03 Call begins. Here’s Jim Gerace of Verizon Wireless.
10:04 Lowell McAdam from Verizon: Strategic partnership that joins leader in wireless networks and services with the leader in open platforms and Web services.
10:05 Bringing “industry leading” apps on 3G and 4G networks. Will co-develop a family of devices with apps from both companies, and of course third parties. Working with selected manufacturers, could include feature phones, PDAs, netbooks, etc.
10:06 Marks another big step in Open Development journey. In many cases, these initiatives broke whole new ground. (Ok, hardly.) Two years ago, announced open development for hardware.
10:08 Won’t have to wait until next year. Will announce first devices in a few weeks. “Game-changing products.” We’re going to hold you to that.
10:08 Eric Schmidt: It’s a fact that Verizon’s data network is the best by far. Reach, performance, scalability. We had known of that reach. We did not know until we had spent a lot of time getting to know each other that they’d take a leading position in openness, which was a huge surprise.
10:09 This partnership is a big deal for us. Major, major milestone in the Android platform. Over 9 devices 32 carriers 26 countries etc. 10,000 apps with many coming. Third US carrier to commit to Android in just one year. Now see how open ecosystem benefits everyone. Carriers can “innovate” on the platform. (Or screw it up.)
10:11 Q&A coming up. Excited about combination of Verizon network, Verizon attitude. Etc.
10:11 Q&A to begin.
10:11 Answering my question: Planning on having the Google Android market installed on the device out of the box. (Won’t make consumers install it themselves.) This is very good for consumers. And bad news for RIM, assuming Verizon still plans to strip out their App World on handsets.
10:12 Verizon plans to support Google Voice. You either have an open device or not. This will be open.
10:13 We have a number of very good and important partners.
10:15 How many Android devices will Verizon launch this year? Two, which will just be the beginning of a multi-year roadmap.
10:16 How many Android devices out there now? Google’s Andy Rubin: Open-source platform, fairly organic in distribution. Hard to track how many in the market. Currently 9 different models. Non-answer!
10:17 How will deal impact Verizon’s relationship with Microsoft? Is there any plan for revenue share? How does Google plan to monetise this? We have a lot of valuable partners. We don’t see expanding business opportunities with one will take business away from the other. Great growth. I’d like not to characterise this as not something that’s going to run counter. Andy Rubin: Google views handset business as extension to core business, which is advertising. For us, it’s a scale thing. 2 billion internet-connected PCs, real opportunity for growth is in handset platform. As you use your phone, you interact with it. A more personal experience. Location services.
10:19 Is this a response to the FCC? Verizon: One of the worst things that you can do is manage your business on what’s going on in the newspaper of Washington. Eric and I wanted to build something exciting for customers. First talks 18 months ago. Trying to respond to whatever is currently being discussed on the hill is the farthest from our mind.
10:20 Lowell flew out to Google to visit about 18 months ago, said let’s try to build something that’s really differentiated here. “We think we can advance the entire discussion forward.” We’re going to hold you to that!
10:21 In PR talked about new devices. Google hasn’t made hardware before. Is change in strategy? Google is NOT in the hardware business, but working collaboratively to seek out best possible physical form factors from partners in the hardware space. Different form factors for different audiences. Work now to identify units, build roadmap.
10:22 Call over. They didn’t answer my question about which search engine would be default: Bing or Google.