Droid War Brews Between AT&T & Verizon

Source: http://www.googleandroidblog.com/news/droid-war-brews-between-att-verizon

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Apple’s (AAPL Quote) iPhone success has provoked backlash among its partner AT&T (T Quote) and would-be Verizon (VZ Quote).

The Androids are lining up for battle.

AT&T, looking beyond these iPhone glory days at a post-Apple era, has taken a big step toward offering its own Google (GOOG Quote) Android devices, some say as early as this year.

This shift in allegiance comes as Verizon and Motorola (MOT Quote) prepare to unveil the hotly anticipated Droid, the anti-iPhone — iDon’t, Droid Does — Google Android phone at a press conference Wednesday.

Invitation to a Google Android event hosted by Motorola and Verizon

Not to be left out of the Android party, AT&T made some unusually favorable comments about the magic that could be made with a Google phone on its new, fast 3G network.

“I think those devices will actually work best on our network,” AT&T wireless chief Ralph De La Vega told analysts on an earnings call Thursday. “We have kicked the tires on Android,” he said, adding: “Now we are working with handset manufacturers to bring products to market.”

Apple’s exclusive iPhone agreement with AT&T is set to expire in June. So it isn’t exactly a shock to see Ma Bell moving more quickly to get on the Android bandwagon. An AT&T representative said the shift from evaluation to production is a new development but would only reiterate statements saying the company expects to have an Android phone in 2010.

Dell (DELL Quote) is expected to bring its Android phone to AT&T early next year, but there may be an even better and quicker option for AT&T to enter the Android camp.

As TheStreet reported earlier this week, Google is working with a phone design manufacturer to have its own Google-branded Android phone available this year.

People familiar with the production plans say Google has ordered phones in a quantity large enough to suggests a full blown rollout, and not a trickle of developer’s trial models.

Google doesn’t have its own retail outlet to sell an Android phone, and AT&T, the top phone seller in the third quarter, may just have room on its Christmas inventory list.

Says one analyst: “Now that AT&T has decided to go with Android, why wouldn’t they go with the best version, the one developed by Google.”

The iPhone raised the bar on smartphones. Apple proved that cool devices need strong software to make a winning combo. Research In Motion (RIMM Quote), Palm (PALM Quote), Nokia (NOK Quote), Motorola (MOT Quote) and Samsung are among the current rivals competing against the iPhone standard.

Google’s open, Web-friendly, easy-to-customize Android operating system is now seen as the most compelling alternative to Apple’s software.

“From a carrier perspective, this couldn’t have come any sooner,” says Northeast Securities analyst Ashok Kumar. “Google is the only vendor that can get them immediate market share by virtue of its software strength.”

By Scott Moritz

[via TheStreet]


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