It's been an interesting week for America's second-largest cell phone carrier. First, Verizon Wireless announces it would support unlocked handsets and third-party applications on its CDMA network, and yesterday the company's CEO said the carrier may support Google's new Android platform. "We're planning on using Android," said Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam in an interview with Business Week. "Android is an enabler of what we do."
McAdam didn't say when, or if, Verizon would release handsets that use Android, and a Verizon spokeswoman also declined to elaborate in an e-mail. "We certainly expect some in the development community to embrace the Android platform in the open-access devices and applications they develop," wrote Nancy Stark, the spokeswoman. "We have not yet decided whether we will use Android in any of the devices Verizon Wireless offers." Stark added that the company has yet to decide whether it will join the Google's Open Handset Alliance (OHA), which is developing the Android platform. Though Sprint and T-Mobile are founding members of the OHA, neither carrier has confirmed when they will release Android devices.
Both announcements mark a distinct change in Verizon's practices. The company has a long-standing reputation in the cell phone world for being the most draconian of carriers. Not only did it prohibit the use of unlocked phones on its network, but also it limited Bluetooth use, banned third-party applications, and saddled its handset lineup with an unintuitive and stodgy menu interface.