Verizon Wireless to carry Android, Pre phones

Fri, 05/29/2009 - 9:05am
Peter Svensson, AP Technology Writer

NEW YORK (AP) – Verizon Wireless will introduce phones based on Google Inc.'s Android software "in the near future," its CEO said Thursday.

So far, only T-Mobile USA has introduced an Android phone in the U.S. Several manufacturers are making phones with the software, including Samsung Electronics Co. and Motorola Inc.

Previously, Verizon Wireless has been noncommittal to Android.

"Conspiracy theorists . . . said that we would never do anything with Google, but we have had some very good dialogue with Google," Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam told an investor conference in New York. "We like what we see, and we will, in fact, be bringing Android devices to the marketplace in the near future."

McAdam also said that the country's largest cellular carrier will carry the Pre, an eagerly awaited new phone from Palm Inc., within six months.

However, McAdam may have misspoken: Sprint Nextel Corp. spokesman James Fisher said Sprint will be the exclusive carrier for the Pre, at least until the end of the year. It was the first time Sprint confirmed the minimum length of the exclusivity period.

The Pre goes on sale June 6 and is seen as a chance for Palm to revitalize a line that has been losing out to Apple Inc.'s iPhone and BlackBerrys from Research In Motion Ltd. The phone features a touchscreen, a slide-out keyboard and a new operating system – WebOS. Sprint, which has been losing subscribers, also needs a hit device.

McAdam added that Verizon Wireless will launch within six months a previously unknown Palm device, a "cousin" to the Pre. Palm has said it is making WebOS the basis for an entire new line.

The Verizon Wireless CEO complimented Motorola, which is struggling to turn around shrinking phone sales.

"You'll see Motorola back into our portfolio. We feel very good about the progress that the Motorola team has made," McAdam said.

Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Vodafone of Britain and Verizon Communications Inc. of New York.

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