Verizon Wireless plans to support Google’s Android platform, a fully integrated mobile “software stack” that consists of an operating system, middleware, user-friendly interface and applications. The first Android cell phones are expected to be available in the second half of 2008.
In November, Google – along with T-Mobile, HTC, Qualcomm, Motorola and other companies – announced the companies’ collaboration for the development of Android through the Open Handset Alliance. The alliance’s goal is to foster innovation on mobile devices and give consumers a better user experience through open standards.
Verizon, among other wireless giants, had been withholding support from the Android initiative. But last week, Verizon announced that it will allow outside mobile handsets, applications and other devices on its network by the end of next year.
Verizon’s decision to open up its network is expected to be a boon to smaller companies and developers, while also appeasing U.S. lawmakers and consumer groups who have called for wireless providers to allow outside devices and applications on their networks.