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Verizon Embraces Google's Android 148

Posted by Zonk
from the hard-to-hug-a-robot dept.
An anonymous reader writes "BusinessWeek has up an article on Verizon's decision to fully support Android. After passing on the iPhone, the company says they're going to open their network to more devices, move their network to GSM-based radio technology (LTE), and now support Android. 'In an open-access model, though, Verizon Wireless won't offer the same level of customer service as it does for the roughly 50 phone models featured in its handset lineup. Though the company will insist on testing all phones developed to run on its network in the open-access program, Verizon plans only to ensure the wireless connection is working for customers who buy those devices.'"
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Verizon Embraces Google's Android

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  • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @01:44PM (#21574013) Homepage Journal
    In all of the diodes down my left side.
  • wary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pwnies (1034518) * <j@jjcm.org> on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @01:50PM (#21574133) Homepage Journal
    I feel like when it comes to open networks, Verizon has always been that evil master that enslaves you and hits you with a rolled up magazine. It makes me wary that it's now trying to give us this treat of promises of open networks...
    Something tells me they're just trying to lure us in so they can get a better swing with their magazine.
    • by autocracy (192714)
      I've always refused to use Verizon for that exact reason of how they are with their network and services. I'll wait and see what they do with their network, but if they're serious and do open up, I'll be happy to move to them, especially if they adopt GSM and use SIM cards.
    • Re:wary (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AmaDaden (794446) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @02:16PM (#21574519)
      Speaking as someone who is stuck on the Verizon network I say THANK GOD. My biggest complaint with Verizon is their OS. They have it on every phone and it's an unwieldy piece of crap. They might be a corporate super giant but they seem to be realizing that people don't like being fucked with. At first we just wanted good service, this is now their advertising corner stone. Then we had to teach that when you say unlimited you have to mean it [slashdot.org]. So they might be looking at things like Android and seriously consider it. A better OS for their phones that other people will take care of for them? Sounds like a good deal. I just hope to see something good from them soon because their iPhone want-a-be is the best they have and it still sucks [verizonwireless.com]
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by davester666 (731373)
        Except they already sell phones with capabilities you want today. Well, the phones could have those capabilities, as the phone manufacturer already developed the hardware [the phone] and the software for those capabilities, but Verizon made them scrap that software AFTER it was developed and QA'ed, and forced them to develop new software without those capabilities you want.

        This is just PR, as they don't want to publicly admit you could already have access to phones TODAY [as Verizon has already certified t
        • by AmaDaden (794446)

          and the software for those capabilities, but Verizon made them scrap that software AFTER it was developed and QA'ed, and forced them to develop new software without those capabilities you want.

          Very true. But I'm hoping that they scrap the software because they want to trouble shoot a single OS. I don't blame them. The problem is their OS sucks. So with Android behind them they could reduce the amount software they have to work on so they can focus on their shitty "get it now" software and let me install st

      • I lucked out and got a Motorola e815 from Verizon. The e815 uses the original Motorola UI which is so much better than the one Verizon foists on their users. My wife got a Motorola Razr at the same time, and I can't stand using her phone. Convoluted menu options, ugly fonts, ugly white text on red background theme, hard to use contacts screen, etc. Same phone manufacturer, same provider, very different user experience between the two.
        • by AmaDaden (794446)
          Yeah I know the feeling. Their OS sucks in such a weird way. It's not that it can't do things it's just that it's so unpleasant when ever you use it to do anything. I had a friend who was moving to Verizon a little after I made the same move. We were both in positions where we HAD to switch to Verizon. I warned him that I got the env and while the phone it self is ok but the OS sucks and is almost all their phones. I showed him the phone and he did not think it was that bad. But the day he got it he called
          • Yeah I know the feeling. Their OS sucks in such a weird way. It's not that it can't do things it's just that it's so unpleasant when ever you use it to do anything.

            That's exactly it. My wife's phone and mine are nearly identical as far a features go (bluetooth-capable, camera, contact book, etc.), but my phone is just so much less sucky to use than hers. Options are easier to find, the UI is just so much more pleasant, etc. Plus, thanks to the good folks at howardforums, I was able to tweak the firmware on mine to re-enable a bunch of the phone's features that Verizon helpfully disabled.

        • by Space (13455)
          Hack the Razr [hacktherazr.com]
          You can replace the firmware on the Verizon Razr with firmware from Alltel or Vivo Wireless and get the Motorola UI. My Razr is currently running Vivo as it has the best MP3 player.
          • I know about the firmware flashes, there is a very active mod group that I follow over at Howard Forums [howardforums.com] as well. I used their how-tos to re-enable a bunch of the features on my Moto e815. Unfortunately the Razr belongs to my wife and if she were to end up with a pretty pink paperweight thanks to my l337 f0n3 h4xor sk1llz, I'd be a dead man!
      • At first we just wanted good service, this is now their advertising corner stone

        I really hope that you're talking about the signal strength (which to be fair, is quite good), because in my experience with Verizon over the past two years, they tend to treat their customers like dirt. This experience seems to be mirrored by everyone else I know who use it....

        If you've got a problem (ie. you were overbilled, which occurs frequently enough that some might consider it criminal....), you have a choice between wa

    • Yeah, their recent actions have thrown off my EvilRadar too. But then I remember: they're anticompetitive and aim to crush outside VoIP service with patent litigation, and my faith is restored. After that, the hard part is justifying how I can subscribe to any telecom or wireless carrier without being a hypocrite.
  • This is good news (Score:5, Interesting)

    by squiggleslash (241428) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @01:51PM (#21574143) Homepage Journal

    LTE is especially good news. It's an open standard, it similar underlying technologies to WiMAX and like WiMAX is all-IP - you can run any protocol over it you can run over the Internet, because your LTE device is an Internet connected terminal. Unlike WiMAX various protocols are standardized on top of it, so an LTE "phone" is still charge up, and plug in the SIM card, and go in much the same way as a GSM phone is today.

    It's going to be hard for me to shake my impression of Verizon as a bunch of psychotic control freaks: maybe the Vodafone influence is finally having an affect. It'll be nice to have a third national operator with a genuinely open network that's worth considering. Being stuck with two GSM operators, one stuck with poor spectrum, the other barely giving a rats-ass about quality of service, sucks.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by yurik (160101)
      Am I correct that with Verizon, being one of the few remaining non-GSM providers, CDMA is scheduled to disappear from North America? Does it still mean the multiple frequencies will remain, thus EU-GSM will stay on separate frequencies with US-GSM ?
      • Re:This is good news (Score:5, Informative)

        by squiggleslash (241428) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @02:11PM (#21574445) Homepage Journal

        It's hard to tell what the long term future of IS-95/CDMA2000 (TIA standards) is. The 4G road map is a technology called Ultra Mobile Broadband, this is the TIA world's equivalent of LTE, but nobody has, thus far, expressed any interest in it.

        Sprint is dabbling in WiMAX, though its deprecated its projects in that area of late. It did, at one point, experiment with a version of UMTS (GSM) called UMTS-TDD but ultimately rejected it in favor of WiMAX, so they're open-minded enough to consider things that fall outside of the narrow TIA systems.

        Alltel, I believe, hasn't made any decisions or said anything about 4G. Between them, Alltel, Verizon, and Sprint are the three major CDMA2000 operators. As long as one of those operators remains tied to CDMA2000, it's unlikely the system will die completely.

        Frequencies is an issue of local legislation and doesn't have much to do with standards. It's going to get worse in Europe too, as phones currently support GSM on 1800 and 900, and UMTS on 2100/1900, and are now going to have to support GSM on 450MHz and UMTS on 900 and 1800. As time goes by, the number of frequencies every handset supports is just going to go through the roof, even if the phone is only supposed to work in one region.

        I think this is going to end up being a fight between WiMAX and LTE, with UMB getting relatively little support. While WiMAX is better known to geeks, it's no more open nor more efficient than LTE. LTE is arguably slightly better in supporting SIM cards, so ultimately if I had a choice, I'd prefer the latter to "win". But both are likely to have wide support across the world, it's unlikely that the same ideological differences that caused the CDMA vs GSM thing to be a mess will happen this time.

        • by eobanb (823187)
          Not to mention that the imminent 700 MHz auction means mobile devices will probably also have to support that band, also.

          Time for software-defined radio, anyone?
    • by Crazy Taco (1083423) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @02:04PM (#21574357)

      Ok, I get it now. I've been trying to figure out why a company that is so closed and so anti-consumer most of the time (I happen to be a current subscriber and hate them, especially after they automatically extended my contract when I got married and wanted to consolidate cell phone plans with my wife, who was also a Verizon customer) would be suddenly opening up their network, not restricting software, etc. After reading these quotes from the article, though, I do get it now.

      When Verizon Wireless was founded in 2000, it ran 27 call centers to provide customer service. The company cut back to as few as 17 centers at one point, but the count is now back to 25, each with about a thousand employees. The company's 2,300 stores, staffed by 20,000 employees, are also costly. While workers in those stores used to spend nearly the entire day signing up new customers, now only a tenth of their time is consumed by new subscribers. Instead, the bulk of their energy goes to helping current subscribers with questions and problems. McAdam & Co. decided the business model was not sustainable. "If we get to 150 million customers, boy, that's a lot of overhead," says McAdam.

      In an open-access model, though, Verizon Wireless won't offer the same level of customer service as it does for the roughly 50 phone models featured in its handset lineup. Though the company will insist on testing all phones developed to run on its network in the open-access program, Verizon plans only to ensure the wireless connection is working for customers who buy those devices. "They have to talk to their handset provider or their application provider if they have particular issues," McAdam says.

      Reading between the lines, you can tell they don't like the fact that they have to support their customers. Things were great when they were just signing up customers right and left and didn't have to do much support, but now that they have to actually support their subscribers they don't like it. So basically, this "opening" is just a way for them to support their customers even less, and dump as much of the support on the handset providers as possible. The company strategy is still about helping the consumer as little as possible and screwing them over as much as possible; it just happens that that is now most easily done with an open network.

      • by kidgenius (704962) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @02:18PM (#21574547)
        And you know what? I can't really blame them. Handset support should fall to Motorola/Samsung/Apple. If something like a calendar application on your phone is buggy, why should Verizon be trying to deal with it. The handset makers made it, have them fix it. I do realize that Verizon has pushed certain things onto the manufacturers like using their UI, etc. But I would much rather see the original software on a phone. So I guess I can't complain to much. By loosening their restrictions, Verizon will actually be saving money AND making their customers happier. And I, as a Verizon customer am now seriously considering staying with them. I was all amped up to dump them and go with ATT and the iPhone next August, but now I'm thinking of staying on for a bit.
        • If something like a calendar application on your phone is buggy, why should Verizon be trying to deal with it.

          While I have no sympathy whatever for the bloodsucking carriers, I agree that the underlying problems is that there's some really complex software on the phones and all users needs can't be met by customer service at any one company. I don't think the OEMs can do it either though. Just like computer software the only way to really scale it is by letting users help users. And open platforms make that easier to do than closed ones.

          I've been messing around with Android and I'm really looking forward to

        • by Muad'Dave (255648) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @02:49PM (#21575089) Homepage
          Handset support should fall to Motorola/Samsung/Apple. If something like a calendar application on your phone is buggy, why should Verizon be trying to deal with it?

          Verizon had to 'deal with it' because they insist on using non-standard firmware to disable features that circumvent their revenue stream model. Why do you think my Razr can't transfer images and ringtones via Bluetooth? Because that would get around their silly "Get It Now" storefront. Same for Java - no free apps; everything must go thru their store.

          I don't blame the manufacturers one bit for punishing these clowns for crippling their phones - in fact, I'd love for the manufacturers to forbid resellers from ruining the manufacturers reputation by flashing sketchy custom firmware and still calling it a 'Company X, Brand Y' phone.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Toonol (1057698)
            Tiller's Rule: Never use a word in written form that you've only heard and never read. You will end up looking foolish.

            That applies the other way around, too. I heard a fellow just yesterday mention the heavy metal band "Queen-Sryche"
            • by Muad'Dave (255648)
              That's funny - I remember a friend spelling it "Queen Scryche' or somesuch. It came out as "Queen Skertch".


              One of my favorite Tiller's Rule violations is a car that had 'Monocot' construction (I think they meant 'monocoque'). I didn't think cars were available with monocot or dicot construction.

          • by Space (13455)
            http://hacktherazr.com/ [hacktherazr.com]
            Replace the firmware
        • by kharchenko (303729) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @03:16PM (#21575573)
          Bull .. they load their own software on the phones, screw up the menus, put up locks, restrictions, etc. They better answer support calls. Of course I would switch to an open platform phone and dump their "support" in a second if there was a choice.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by hax0r_this (1073148)

          If something like a calendar application on your phone is buggy, why should Verizon be trying to deal with it.
          Thats a good one. Have you ever used a Verizon phone? At least on my KRZR there is no Calendar application, unless you buy it from Verizon. Verizon installs their own firmware so that about all that still works is syncing contacts.

          And worst of all, its ugly. Who the hell makes an OS with a bright-red themed GUI?
          • by edmicman (830206)
            Funny, on my Verizon KRZR, if I press down on the d-pad I get to the calendar. Granted, it's not useful for anything more than glancing at dates, but it's there. I didn't get the KRZR thinking it would be a smartphone, either, though.
          • by kidgenius (704962)
            Did you even read what I wrote, or did you stop one after that one comment. I said that I know VZ pushes their UI onto the manufacturer. They've currently had to support buggy software, and they have now realized that they don't want to. So, they remove their UI restrictions, making the manufacturer responsible, and everybody's happy.
            • by barzok (26681)
              They won't do that. They make too much money selling their crappy apps, music, videos & ringtones via their crappy UI. If they let leave the phones on their "factory" UI, they lose a HUGE revenue stream.
              • That's assuming that really is a huge revenue stream, fully justifying the amount they're spending on locking down every phone they sell - the programming, the tech support, the lost custom, etc.

                It almost certainly doesn't. They can still sell ring-tones even without locking down every phone in existence, they'll just sell less of them. How much less? Probably not so much less that it suddenly justifies the costs of the locking down.

                T-Mobile and AT&T both, today, run open networks. 100% open networ

          • by RESPAWN (153636)
            My whole family has Verizon and I know that three of our phones have a calendar application: LG ENv, LG Chocolate, and LG 8350. I'm almost certain that Dad's Razr has one too, but don't hold me to that -- I haven't touched his phone in months. On the LG phones, simply pressing "down" on the directional pad from the standby screen accesses the calendar. I've played with a few others at the store as well that had calendars, but I will admit that they've all been LG phones, so maybe it's just the Motorola p
          • Amen, brother!

            I surf from my phone occasionally, and a couple months ago Verizon started putting fscking BANNER ADS on their mobile web portal. And if I choose to go to my stored URLs, there's so much crap on the page, the stuff I want to see doesn't even show up on the first screenful. And the browser's crap: I have not yet found a way to enter a phrase containing a space character in a password field, it's hard to use the drop-downs that have terms you've previously entered into text boxes (I've only ma
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by hkgroove (791170)
        While I understand that Verizon wants to drop overhead, in some way it does make sense. They were the ones crippling their phones at the start and their version of firmware / software changes that is usually the cause of bad phones. Now, if they're not updating the phone at all, why not send support for tech issues to the manufacturer?

        I've known many people, including myself, that have had to hard-reset their phones over the last year or two, losing ring tones, games, pictures and contacts. Aside from
      • by dave562 (969951)
        Post to undue improper moderation. Ignore this.
      • by Red Flayer (890720) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @02:50PM (#21575105) Journal

        The company strategy is still about helping the consumer as little as possible and screwing them over as much as possible; it just happens that that is now most easily done with an open network
        Well, I'm a cynic, but isn't that how it's supposed to work? They act to maximize their profits, you act to maximize the value you get for your hard-earned $$.

        You can always go to another provider... competition should cause the value you get to increase.

        The problem isn't Verizon... the problem is the oligarchy of cell phone providers. With too few participants on their side of the market, they do not face enough competitive pressure to make your cell phone experience better. The answer is to either regulate them better, or to open up the market to more competitors (which probably wouldn't work, due to high barriers to entry).
      • When my GNU/Linux box doesn't work, I don't call Earthlink. I only call them if there's a problem with their service. That's pretty much how it should be.

        If my GNU/Linux LTE phone doesn't work, I doubt I'll call Verizon (or Google, or T-Mobile, or whoever I use.)

      • They can also reduce their support costs by letting people do whatever they damn well please to their phones. A good deal of the problems people call cellular providers up about are caused by restrictions the providers put in to try and nickel-and-dime them on extra services... like downloading games. I probably cost my current cellphone provider more than I'll ever earn them in profits just trying to get them to explain how I could save my address book, because they refused to say "you can't do that becaus
  • by Seumas (6865) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @01:52PM (#21574157)
    Verizon Embraces Google's Android

    Too bad androids are only able to return the gesture of affection with a cold, dead indifference.
  • A Java-ish success? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by caywen (942955) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @01:52PM (#21574163)
    I wonder if Verizon's support for Android devices is indirectly due to Java's general acceptance as a mobile platform (J2ME), and their confidence that a whole OS based on it will be solid enough to provide predictable support for it. We're beginning to see Windows Mobile devices diverging in basic functionality as the T-Mobile Shadow, HTC Touch, and AT&T Tilt all have different interfaces. This likely makes it hell for Verizon to provide open access for WM. If Android can remain consistent in functionality, robustness, and usability, as well as maintain a relatively small footprint, I don't see why Sprint and T-Mobile wouldn't follow suit eventually. OTOH, AT&T may continue to drink Apple's koolaid and be the closed, leading edge, stylish carrier.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Um, Sprint and T-Mobile were two of the founding members of the OHA/Android.
    • by Metaphorically (841874) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @02:57PM (#21575227) Homepage

      I wonder if Verizon's support for Android devices is indirectly due to Java's general acceptance as a mobile platform (J2ME)
      Android uses Java Standard Edition, not Micro. And I don't see much foundation for that speculation: Android is built on Java not the other way around.

      their confidence that a whole OS based on it will be solid enough to provide predictable support for it.
      There's no OS built on Java here. The emulator runs a custom JVM on top of Linux.

      I don't see why Sprint and T-Mobile wouldn't follow suit eventually.
      Sprint and T-Mobile are already members [openhandsetalliance.com] (as I think other comments have pointed out).
      • Android uses Java Standard Edition, not Micro.
        Care to back that up with a link? I thought Android runs a custom version of Java... As far as I can see their implementation is not very near ME, SE or any current Java version.
        • by jsight (8987)
          You are correct... Android uses a custom runtime that provides some of the libraries that Java does. The VM is a custom system called "Dalvik" and the standard libraries do not conform to any of the existing Java standards.

          The language is Java, though, and it fits in nicely with Java development environments.
  • They know they need to do something "edgie" to court the "Hip" crowd and they see Google as the way to do it. Doing something like this seems like a marketing ploy to keep them "cool". Who need to say they have good service when we have "the cool" phones.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by geekoid (135745)
      I have had nothing but excellent service from Verizon. Including them coming out at checking my inside wiring for no charge.
      The one big deal is when putting in their fiber infrastructure they damaged bu sprinklers. It took 1 5 minute phone call at 4PM and they were out the next day and fixed it.
      They cut my DSL monthly fee in half, mid contract.

      Quite frankly, I don't understand the Verizon hate. Yes they area large company, but overall they seem to play well.

      Now that they see that the telecom industry is on
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by techpawn (969834)
        VZW and Verizon Communication (land lines) are part of the same company but are kind of separate entities from each other. Having one does not make you a customer of the other.

        I don't doubt their land line service is great. I've gotten excellent service with the cell phone section of the company too. But the moves just seem more marketing driven than market driven.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by plague3106 (71849)
        Verizon != Verizon Wireless. They are two seperate companies.
      • by garcia (6573)
        Quite frankly, I don't understand the Verizon hate. Yes they area large company, but overall they seem to play well.

        Because, quite frankly, when I had DSL through Verizon I was supposed to be getting 768/128 and was instead getting 350/70 during off-peak times and 250/50 during on-peak (and it was a college town so the off-peak times were limited). Latency was high with round-trip averages in the 200ms range and spikes to 350+ (my 53k dialup through icontech.com at home in PA was steady at 175ms to 180ms).
  • by joe_cot (1011355) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @02:08PM (#21574401) Homepage
    Stop charging my first born for service.
    Verizon's Data-Plan is 80 per month base (with no option for not buying voice time), versus T Mobile's 40 a month (with no Voice plan). That doesn't include the use of wifi spots, which comes standard for t-mobile but is extra on Verizon. I'm an open-source guy, but I'll take a locked proprietary phone that works as a bluetooth modem for my (soon to own, hopefully) Nokia n810 over a google android phone on an open network any day of the week, when it's going to cost me 40 less a month.
    • by Benanov (583592) *
      T-Mobile seems to allow unlocked phones...so why get a bundled one?

      Only because it's cheaper, I guess.
    • Stop charging my first born for service.

      Hey, this isn't a soup kitchen! If your first born wants service, they have to PAY for it, pal!
    • This was changed back during the summer.

      It's $59.99 a month for EVDO high-speed internet whether you have a qualifying voice line or not.

      Given the fact that the service covers over 280 million people makes it worth a little extra. I doubt Verizon would charge you less for their data plans if you decide to use a non-standard handset.
      • by Jon_S (15368)
        "high-speed internet" ... that is limited to things like e-mailing and websurfing according to their terms of service. That's a lot of money for only partial access to the internet.
  • by irishdaze (839248) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @02:10PM (#21574433) Homepage
    Afte reading the article, this is what grabs my eye:

    . . . Verizon Wireless won't offer the same level of customer service as it does for the roughly 50 phone models featured in its handset lineup . . . Verizon plans only to ensure the wireless connection is working for customers who buy those devices. "They have to talk to their handset provider or their application provider if they have particular issues," McAdam says.

    So, who's to say if "the wirelss connection is working" - The customer? Verizon? The device itself? Application support? What kind of sense does THAT make? I can't hold a call for 5 blocks in a downtown urban area, but because my 'phone provider says the coverage maps report solid coverage, the problem of course must be my handset -- which of course they can replace with a "newer, better model" for just $199.95.

    Add to that their sudden outbreak of common sense regarding their business model, in that

    . . . the bulk of their energy goes to helping current subscribers with questions and problems. McAdam & Co. decided the business model was not sustainable."

    What a great opportunity for Verizon to reduce their already phenomenally bad customer service and imply that it's not their fault that they must do.

    That might be the most ingenious corporate spin I've ever heard. Seriously.

    • by vimh42 (981236)
      Well keep your eyes open and watch for wool blankets. However, without being cynical for a moment what if "Verizon Wireless won't offer the same level of customer service..." simply means they won't have support for their nickle and dime you music and movie services and the like?
    • by aztektum (170569)
      Good point. My guess would mean they won't let you bring the phone in and demand an exchange or any sort of hardware support. You're still paying them for SERVICE each month and they damn well better support THAT. Echoes what I brought up when this was first announced: What area of support are they going to skimp on?
    • by enjahova (812395) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @04:43PM (#21577015) Homepage

      So, who's to say if "the wirelss connection is working" - The customer? Verizon? The device itself? Application support? What kind of sense does THAT make? I can't hold a call for 5 blocks in a downtown urban area, but because my 'phone provider says the coverage maps report solid coverage, the problem of course must be my handset -- which of course they can replace with a "newer, better model" for just $199.95.
      Let's look at this model applied to computers and internet access (which is pretty much what a phone is, a small computer connecting to a network)

      So, who's to say if "the internet connection is working" - the customer? Comcast? the computer itself? Windows/Linux support? Makes sense to me, we deal with this all the time! Would you rather that ISP's sold rigorously tested locked down PCs that they could give customer support on? Or would you rather that connection and your computer remained separate, so you contact them when your internet SERVICE doesn't work, and contact the computer/application developers for support when the device doesn't work.

      I think the problem is that people are so used to being fucked by phone companies, its hard to see how things should be. Ideally, service should be completely separate from the device. Yes, you would now have to trust two different entities, the service company for connectivity and the device maker for a robust device, but we seem to do this just fine with TV and computers.

      It looks like they are trying to move away from the locked down phones for greedy reasons, but if it works out that way its better for us. If they are actually doing this, I see it as a good thing for competition and the abysmal situation in the US for cell service. Whether or not they actually go through with it only time will tell :)
    • by KFW (3689) *

      ...Verizon Wireless won't offer the same level of customer service as it does for the roughly 50 phone models featured in its handset lineup . . . Verizon plans only to ensure the wireless connection is working for customers who buy those devices. "They have to talk to their handset provider or their application provider if they have particular issues," McAdam says.

      ...

      That might be the most ingenious corporate spin I've ever heard. Seriously.

      You may be right. OTOH, it really isn't reasonable for Verizon or any other provider to provide in depth tech support for a device that they didn't sell you. There will be a certain amount of finger pointing (just like there is now with router problems - the router's tech support people say the problem must be with the internet connection, the ISP says it's with the router...). But I'm willing to wait and see what kind of experience people actually have instead of deciding in advance that it's just a

  • I think they're better off than taking the iPhone route. The issue with iPhones is that you've only really got a subset of customers (albeit a very large one), and it's unlikely to grow beyond that. With an open platform, I think Verizon are covering a much larger customer-base. That and the added fact that anything with Google on it is likely to sell well.
  • One of my biggest bitches was being forced to run their proprietary crap apps on the phone instead of plentiful Java apps. I also hate all the fcking branding: External LCD shows Verizon Logo when shut, internal screen has "Verizon" at the top, etc. $200/month isn't enough to let me put what I want on the phone and make it look like a want? My son downloaded a stupid game the first dat he had it because he thought it was free and we found out last month that we have been charged for it for a year. Screw tha
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by goofballs (585077)

      My son downloaded a stupid game the first dat he had it because he thought it was free and we found out last month that we have been charged for it for a year. Screw that!
      sorry dude, but your son bamboozled you, and you fell for it. the 'get it now' apps are VERY clear that they cost money- in fact, that's the FIRST thing you see when you select one of them. :P
  • I've been working with the SDK since it came out, and though it is still lacking in some of its promised features, by the time the first phones come out next year it's going to provide some very interesting competition in the industry.
    I'm glad that a major provider is jumping on. From a development perspective at least, Android is a breath of fresh air in the mobile phone industry. Hopefully it will be for end users as well, but I suppose that remains to be seen. =)
  • by NynexNinja (379583) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @02:51PM (#21575113)
    They say they are going to switch from CDMA to GSM, but why do they have to alienate all their existing customers by switching protocols? The network should support both CDMA and GSM simultaneously. That should be their goal, to support as many different devices as possible, instead of just particular phones.
    • I doubt it's well characterized as a move so much as an expansion of the CDMA equipment. Currently, they have a CDMA network to the point of having embraced EV-DO as the 3G standard they went with. Looks like UMB (the 4G equivalent of LTE) has absolutely zero takers, and that Verizon plans to deploy LTE equipment to complement their current networks. Just like while I'm in a large city, I generally can get EVDO access, but if I go 100 miles away, I only get 1x RTT connection from the tower. Meanwhile, t
    • They'll probably be using both systems in parallel. LTE is relatively flexible in spectrum usage, and Verizon is bidding on the upcoming 700MHz auctions any way.

      It's unlikely they'll be getting rid of the CDMA2000 network completely any time soon, though if they have any sense, once they've started a serious roll out of the LTE stuff, they should drop sales of CDMA2000 devices to avoid getting in the same situation as, say, AT&T and Cingular who were both selling D-AMPS phones until a year or so befo

      • by isdnip (49656)
        Verizon's main interest in the 700 MHz auction is to keep it from spawning major new competitors, especially ones with a different business model, particularly ones that rhyme with "kugel".

        There's been some discussion of LTE vs. UMB. LTE comes from the GSM world, and UMB from the CDMA world, but they're more similar than alike, and not at all like GSM *or* CDMA. LTE and UMB are based on OFDMA technology, more akin to mobile WiMAX. So it'll be a "forklift upgrade" for Verizon, unlike the CDMA-2000 transit
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by squiggleslash (241428)

          UMTS has caught on with most GSM operators - their major issue isn't any "forklift" upgrade (I think you're saying a switch to an entirely unrelated technology, but that's not the case, the upper levels of GSMv2 and UMTS are very similar) but the spectrum issues it has coupled with regulatory challenges. W-CDMA and TD-CDMA, the two major UMTS air interfaces, require 5 MHz of spectrum in either direction to work properly which has been a problem for US operators as many only have 5MHz of spectrum in various

  • by Atilla (64444) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @03:05PM (#21575373) Homepage
    I, for one, fully support our android overlords.
  • Verizon Wireless won't offer the same level of customer service as it does for the roughly 50 phone models featured in its handset lineup
    Thank God!
  • Embrace!? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by enomar (601942) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @03:34PM (#21575897)
    I'll believe it when I see it. All they've done so far is make a couple vague statements to BusinessWeek.

    All this talk of Verizon "openness" is just talk. Right in time for all the publicity around the 700MHz auction.

    I have no idea what their strategy is, but I can assure you being more open is not their goal.
  • Opening their network and letting an open source community develop software for them is a positive step for Verizon. Currently they have some of the worst client side software available on their phones. Why not let users develop the software they like and go back to being just a service provider? They won't have to reduce their prices because current Verizon customers (myself included), have already accepted that we will pay an arm and a leg for cell data service. Android won't make Verizon phone plans
  • Does Verizon's plans to deploy a full LTE network mean that CDMA will be gone in a few years from the US? Sprint says it's going to upgrade from CDMA to WiMAX, but has also indicated it might go LTE anyway. Verizon will probably eventually upgrade its CDMA to LTE instead of a CDMA successor, especially if the LTE network succeeds well, even if it's because of the new open devices rather than any intrinsic network advantage. Current GSM operators like T-Mobile will have to upgrade by then, and probably to LT
    • Just a guess, but my hunch is that the other CDMA providers will switch to LTE as well. If they don't, they risk losing access to any 4G roaming coverage that Verizon makes available. And now, they get the added benefit of AT&T, T-Mobile, etc. coverage as well.

      Not to mention, the other CDMA carriers will lose the significant roaming payments Verizon pays to them (especially in the areas of the country where only rural cell phone carriers have coverage) and will miss out on any new roaming payments that
      • by Doc Ruby (173196)
        I think your expectations are probably accurate. But the problem for it is that open devices could "cheat" these carriers of "roaming", if a single device can have an account on multiple networks, and do the handoff itself. LTE is an all-IP network tech. There will be ways for a phone to transparently close a connection to a network on which it's losing signal, open a connection to another subscribed network, and continue the call to the remote party on the new network, without an audible hiccup - much as p
  • would that mean every cell phone in the US is guaranteed interference? when the FCC tests a phone, what do they test? obviously not if it interferes with surrounding equipment. i've even heard the GSM noise on my TV at home (and i have a CDMA phone), so it either comes from the cable company, or the TV station.
    seriously... as somebody that works doing professional audio work i effectively can not have a GSM phone because they emit that noise even through shielded cables. they interfere with industry standar
    • by geekoid (135745)
      FCC rating does not mean no interference. Perhaps you should look into the shield of cables and what it shields.
      Does the cable company's guarantee it is shielded from the acceptable broadcast of GSM?

      I have found, and proven, many bad cables even when the engineer is 'sure' it's not the cable. Always because they depended on the manufactures reputation and considered the cables as 'golden'

    • If you mean that "Pip pip pip" thing that happens when a GSM phone has to negotiate a connection to the network, no, because we're talking about 4G GSM, which uses an entirely different air interface technology to 2G GSM, which is the only version of GSM that has this particular issue.
  • I have never found verizon to be especially evil. Corporate, to be sure, but never especially evil. I think this is a great move in the right direction. Of course they want to reduce their support costs! It's funny how people now want to blame companies for wanting to make money. Making money is a good thing as long as it isn't at all costs.

    I have some relatives that work for Verizon and what goes on behind the scenes is truly beyond description...but at the end of the day I like their service a lot, t

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