Apr 26 AT 10:06 PM Taylor Wimberly 41 Comments

FLASHBACK: Verizon Wireless to introduce ‘Any Apps, Any Device’ option for customers

“Verizon Wireless today announced that it will provide customers the option to use, on its nationwide wireless network, wireless devices, software and applications not offered by the company. Verizon Wireless plans to have this new choice available to customers throughout the country by the end of 2008.”Verizon Wireless11/27/2007

The year was 2007. Verizon was facing pressure for locking down their devices so the carrier announced a new Open Developer initiative to open up their network – specifically to “devices not offered by the company”. They claimed customers would be able to use “any apps, any device”, but that it turned out that Verizon didn’t consider a phone to be a device.

Verizon CEO, Lowell McAdam, thought it would open the door to new innovation and growth, but they have yet to open their network for phones they did not sell. When referring to the new initiative, McAdams said, “Verizon Wireless is not changing our successful retail model, but rather adding an additional retail option for customers looking for a different wireless experience.”

Fast forward to 2010. Google unveils the Nexus One with support for T-Mobile and announces support for Verizon is coming soon (Spring 2010). The Nexus One was a special Android phone because Google would sell it unlocked directly to customers and cut out the middle man (the carrier).

Coming soon no more.

This new approach to selling phones benefited the customer by giving them more choices. I purchased my Nexus One on day one and I was happy to pay full price to pair it with my no-contract Even More Plus plan on T-Mobile.

Common sense would tell you the carrier does not want to give up the sale (and software) of a phone, but Google must have made a sweet deal (or done some arm twisting) to get the carriers to fall in line. AT&T was the first to say ‘no thanks’ to the idea, so Google went ahead and still released a version which supported their network. Sprint was the last to weigh in, but they finally joined the party and said the Nexus One was a natural fit for their Android lineup.

Customers eagerly waited for the Nexus One on Verizon, but an official release date never surfaced. We predicted the phone could launch at CTIA last month, but Verizon remained tight lipped. As we anticipated Verizon announcing the device, they went on to officially unveil the Droid Incredible (which is basically a cousin of the Nexus One).

Now today we learned that Google will not be selling a Nexus One with Verizon support. This comes as a disappointment to potential customers who wanted to purchase the phone and Google who was hoping to have the N1 on all four carriers.

So why the change in direction from Verizon? That is the key question – one we may never get a real answer to. Both companies are currently playing nice, but clearly something is up. Google looked to be the dominant partner calling the shots, but now we see Verizon is beginning to push back.

If Verizon really wanted to carry the phone by now, Google would have let them place it in their retail stores (like Vodafone). This would have it compete directly with their other new Android phone (the Incredible), which someone did not want to happen.

Verizon did not initially want to treat HTC (maker of the N1 and Incredible) as a first-tier supplier, but their attitude changed 180-degrees when HTC’s brand became popular with U.S. consumers. When the Droid Incredible launches on April 29th, it will be Verizon’s flagship smartphone.

It would have been nice to see the Nexus One experiment on Verizon’s network, but I guess it was a little too open for the nation’s largest carrier.

Oddly, Verizon has now placed the spotlight on Sprint who is still scheduled to release its Nexus One availability soon. There must be a boatload of CDMA-based Nexii by now, so let’s all hope they work out a deal.

Let them hear it

We know there is a nice selection of insiders who visit this blog, so let them know what you think about Google and Verizon’s latest move. Who do you think made the decision to nix the Nexus One on Verizon? Does it even matter with the pending Droid Incredible? Were you waiting on the Verizon N1 and now considering switching to another carrier to get the device? Do you think Sprint will still launch the device?

A miniature recap of Verizon’s goal of being open:

  • November 27, 2007:  Verizon announces plans to open their network to support devices not offered by the company.
  • October 6, 2009: Google and Verizon form a strategic partnership to “leverage (VZ’s) high-speed network and open Android platform for wireless innovation”.
  • January 5, 2010: Google introduces the Nexus One and announces Verizon support coming in spring 2010.
  • April 26, 2010: Google updates their Nexus One partnerships. Verizon support is no more. “Go buy an Incredible.”

Source: Verizon

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

    Most Tweeted This Week

  • http://Website landroid

    mann i was waiting until this summer to switch to the nexus one (for verizon)…now im not sure..i mean i wanted 3g every where and i liked how the have service in almost (if not) every major city AND CANADA. well im not sure what im going to do now…

    • krazytrixxxsta

      get the incredible, duh. it a better phone than the n1

  • http://Website jeff uberstine

    I think this was a very very poor choice by verizon, it shows how they are not open to the idea of being open.

    I was counting on buying the nexus one for full price if I had to because I like verizons quality of service, but now I’m just left disappointed by broken promises

  • http://Website chris

    i email google about this stupid decision they made. you should too. i sincerely hope they have a sprint/verizon phone in the near future. i too was waiting for this and don’t want sense or the incredible in general. today was a sad day for us geeks. thanks for the article.

    • http://Website Warden C.

      Why would you email Google? Google obviously wanted a Verizon Nexus One as well. It’s Verizon who pulled out of the deal. I am on T-Mobile with my Nexus One now and would have gladly bought another and even gone into a contract for a Verizon Nexus One. Stupid move Verizon. I don’t think it would have a huge impact on sales of other devices anyway. The Nexus One is only available online. T-Mobile doesn’t even carry models to test. The only people who would really buy a Nexus One (for the most part) are people who know enough about it to go out of their way to buy it online, which I’m guessing is the reason it IS only available online so that Google would be able to give a good reason to the carriers why it wouldn’t compete with their other phones that much.

      • http://Website chris

        why would i email google? i WANT them to do the same thing they did to AT&T. make a phone for the carrier even if the carrier doesn’t want it. there is no reason, besides being respectful to verizon, to not make it. i merely expressed my disappointment and was hoping to get some response from them. thanks anyways.

        • http://Website wodin

          CDMA isn’t the same as GSM. With ATT, they could just release the phone and you put your SIM card in it. With Verizon, or sprint for that matter, THEY have to be willing to activate it.

    • http://Website Jeff Uberstine

      you email verizon, this was their doing

    • http://Website Eugene

      do u know how to read????

  • http://Website wallingsworth

    vzw now has the incredible why would they want Google’s nexus 1( the retarded cousin). it’s no secret that the nexus one has gotten nothing but bad press since it’s release. vzw made a great choice to ditch Google’s phone/mess. Google doesn’t even want to deal with the N1 issues why should vzw have to? lol, Google’s new approach on dealing with the N1 is to just straight up tell people ‘we cannot fix da shit.’
    lol! they said it themselves go buy the incredible. bahahahaha!

    • http://Website Derek

      I dont see why the comment above got so many negative points. He’s dead on accurate. The Incredible is a better phone AND it has direct support from HTC and VZW. Why whould anyone want to spend the $529 on a N1 and get its broken 3G, and get its complete lack of customer support.

      I know it makes all the N1 owners mad out there, but the Incredible is a better piece of hardware with a much better UI, and it works great. My co-worker got one, its pretty awesome.

  • http://Website Riley

    Just FYI, I think you meant “sweet” instead of “sweat” in the bit “but Google must have made a sweat deal (or done some arm twisting) to get the carriers to fall in line”.

    Back on topic: I blame Verizon more than Google for this. It would have been nice if Google was ready right out of the gate with both GSM and CDMA variants, but it seems like Verizon wasn’t exactly racing to get this phone out.

  • E-man

    I am extremely upset on Verizon’s decision. They are complete nazi’s when it comes to power. It is a let down to all of us who were waiting on the n1 for Verizon. I’m switching over to Sprint once the n1 is released for them.

  • http://Website alloy

    I don’t see sprint coming out with it either I mean with Verizon choosing an almost similar phone as its replacement I don’t see why Sprint would even consider this I mean come on its the Evo we are talking about here no competition from anything out there and this is coming from a man who was inticipating the nexus on Verizon but now I am getting the Incredible.

  • http://Website Phil

    I’m not quite as ready to blame Verizon as some others. Google brought a phone to market that has had some issues that may or may not have been fully addressed. Would Verizon want to represent a phone that is not 100% reliable – even if it is sold only through Google? Verizon could easily be blamed for any issues – not a positon I would want to be in if I were they. Additionally, the HTC Incredible seems to be a step ahead of the Nexus One. Another question would be why would Google want to have the Nexus One compete directly against the Incredible? Why would HTC want that competition? Pricing is very similar. Features are similar, but Nexus does not have the Sense UI, and I realize there are those who feel strongly about Sense on both sides of the discussion. I am not sure we will ever know the real reason the Nexus One was pulled.

    My disclaimer: I am, and have been a Verizon customer for almost a decade. Why? Because the system works consistently in North America, which is what I ask of a cell phone.

  • http://Website Matt

    I can’t stand all this talk about the Incredible being so closely related to the Nexus One. The Incredible is a customized android unlike the N1 which is Google’s experimental android playground phone. The latest android will be made available for the N1 and the Incredible will be left in the dust. Then everyone will complain that their Incredible is out of date. I think SenseUI is beautiful and functional, but in the end it is incompatible with the speed of android releases. If you get the Incredible, you’re sacrificing next gen android for yourself.

    This is why you cannot simply say: well they don’t ned the N1 anymore now that they have the Incredible. And this is why some of us were waiting for the N1 and now may go to another carrier. Unfortunately the majority of consumers may not care or know android enough to understand that difference which is why Verizon or Google may have felt they don’t need the N1 on their network and that’s a shame. Even if Verizon doesn’t want to market the phone, Google should still release the phone unsubsidized so that the consumer at least has more of a choice. Afterall, I thought that was the purpose of the Nexus One.

    • http://Website eurotrash

      That is just it Matt. Most of the people commenting here are not “phone savvy” or have a grasp of the technolog and or the mobile phone industry. I still am amazed everytime I show my N1 to somebody and they get all excited and then comes the inevitable “Who makes this phone? Verizon? AT&T?” CARRIERS DON’T make phones nor do they support hardware. To have these type people make comments about the incredible being “better” than the N1 is the same thing as people commenting on newtonian physics when they did’nt even finish high school. Trying to explain Googles effort to seperate the phone from the carrier and give people the choice of NOT having to subsidize a phone from a “carrier” that doesn’t make or support hardware, or signing STUPID iron clad contracts is even harder (most people are mathmatically ignorant). Then to try and explain that the N1 is the RAW Andriod platform and will be supported with the quickest updates and doesn’t have a lame UI smeared all over it is even harder. The N1 is for early adopters and maybe they shouldn’t even be considering it for their needs. …. Good luck with that ….

      • http://Website Derek

        “…I still am amazed everytime I show my N1 to somebody and they get all excited and then comes the inevitable ‘why does your 3G suck so bad??’…” HAHA

  • http://Website Vince

    Verizon is a great network, but they’re flexing their muscles a little too much lately. I can’t tell you how many people I know switching to Sprint simply because Sprint is so much cheaper. They deal with the fact that their coverage is nowhere near as good. In a bad economy, coverage everywhere seems to be becoming a luxury, not a need. This definitely shows Verizon isn’t aware of their customers wants, and will further cause people to drop their network for one with cheaper prices and better phones, even if coverage isn’t as great.

    I wasn’t planning on getting the N1 on Verizon, but after the Droid update debacle, I was considering it. I would love to see a Verizon phone built by HTC with a physical keyboard and Google pushing out the updates. I thought the N1 was a step in the right direction (only lacking the physical keyboard), but now even that progress is stopped.

    The only decent reason for all this is that the Incredible is a very similarly spec’d phone, and it didn’t make a ton of sense to have them competing, (though Sense is actually one difference, pun intended). The problem I have with the Incredible is exactly that: Sense. Noticed how few Sense UI phones have actually received updates? Froyo is on its way, and some Sense UI phones are still stuck on Cupcake!

    Verizon needs to realize that the wireless landscape sees beyond coverage at this point. I would rather die than have AT&T, and most of its users acknowledge the bad coverage. But one popular phone (whose name shall not be spoken) is basically keeping them alive. When the cool features of a phone were a camera and a color screen, Verizon had the competition beat with coverage. Now, phones are mobile computers, and users want more than just a signal.

    I’m pretty loyal to Verizon, but I love the Android platform, and I want the best experience that comes with it. Moto Droid is great, but the specs are already a bit dated. The N1 was going to be a great option. I hope Verizon realizes all of this. I want great coverage, AND a great phone. The monthly fees I pay should support both, not just one.

  • http://Website dipset

    Personally, I’m not all that disappointed by the fact that the N1 isn’t coming to verizon. It would be nice to have choices, but the Incredible does everything the N1 does, but it does it better. Has a better screen whose multi touch isn’t broken, better camera and more system memory(700+ mb vs. 512 mb) Also, I would think the manufacturer of the phone does all the software updating, not the company whose name is on it. HTC makes both phones, so I can’t see the updates being slower or faster on either. Let the thumbs down begin!!

    • http://Website eurotrash

      Again… another person who doesn’t understand. The manufacturer doesn’t make the update to Android. Google makes the updates. They then supply it to the manufacturer and carrier. But the manufacturer has to figure out how to make that update to the BASE Android disto work with what ever proprietary components they are running on that model such as Sense UI ? Why is this so hard to understand. It is the same Reason that all these people with Sense UI are still waiting around on Cupcake? You like the incredible so much go for it, but I don’t want to see you crying on this forum 6 months from now when you are still running 2.1 and they are pushing out 2.5. Me personally I am looking forward to Froyo in a few weeks and having Flash 10.1 … Cheers

      • http://Website dipset

        that’s my point. google makes the software and the manufacturer of the hardware has to implement it, correct? and if i’m not mistaken, HTC makes both cell phones? so they have to put this fabled 2.5 on both phones, not google. all google does is release the source code for it. and 2.1 has come out for many sense phones, i think the cell phone companies are slow to approve it. 2.1 has been out for the eris for awhile now, but verizon has yet to push it out.

        • http://Website Matt

          Yes, you are correct by saying that Google makes the software but the manufacturer is responsible for actually getting it on the phone. However, the difference for the N1 is that time and resources to do this are significantly less due to the stock nature the N1 was designed for.

          Google releases a new version of Android and then the game starts to see how all the current phones will be updated. For the Nexus One, the newest release of Android should be very straight forward because the N1 is compatible with the stock android, therefore there is nothing special the manufacturer needs to do to make it work on the N1. For a phone with SenseUI, the maker of SenseUI (in this case, HTC) have to grab the new Android, and then re-implement SenseUI into it. This takes time and resources. Your statement that 2.1 has been out for the Eris is incorrect. Android 2.1 has been out, but HTC never made the necessary modifications to port it over for the Eris.

  • http://Website Richard

    Matt you hit it right on the head when you said “The Incredible is a customized android unlike the N1 which is Google’s experimental android playground phone. The latest android will be made available for the N1 and the Incredible will be left in the dust. Then everyone will complain that their Incredible is out of date. I think SenseUI is beautiful and functional, but in the end it is incompatible with the speed of android releases. If you get the Incredible, you’re sacrificing next gen android for yourself.”
    I was about to write something in that nature but you beat me to the punch, I have had my N1 for 2 months now on T mobile, and all I can say I haven’t had any issue with it, and I even got one for my wife, when she saw all it could do and how fast it was. (I had the G1 before getting the N1 and she had the MY Touch) Anyone with the N1 will always get updates when the rest will have to wait, like those poor people with the Hero which is still running on 1.6 and still waiting, I could be mistaken or the Droid Eris(VZ) your can forget about any updates there. Now you already have the the Droid Eris(VZ) you have if not a soon to be out of date phone and how long has it been out? The Incredible is Incredible to a person that does know the full background as eurotrash said or just goes and read the bad reviews it got somewhere which does not come close to over all praise for the phone, no phone is perfect. Point black. But you know when there’s something that’s comes out via Google/android the N1 will get it first and cont to receive updates, When I placed my order I said had to save my money to get this but I think it’s worth it, the rep said you made a wise choice indeed, and we will take care of our N1 users you will see in the near future. Now that can be all BS, and I work in the telecom business but know that this is their phone, there android they will always take sides to the ones that have the N1 over the ones that don’t. When the N1 is running on 2.5 android (I know they are not anywhere close to that) the incredible will still be waiting for the next update, and the next and the next. Soon the Incredible won’t be as incredible as it once was. So saying why would you VZ market two phones that are alike, now that BS.

    PS, any grammar mistakes or misspelling I am sorry ahead of time, I was very short on time but wanted to write something before I couldn’t at all.

  • http://www.goldfishview.com David Shellabarger

    From all accounts I hear that the Incredible is better then the N1, but I was interested in the direct to consumers experiment that Google is doing.

    Hopefully, Google will release some more phones with the program soon, so we can see if this model works.

    • http://Website Jeff Uberstine

      there got going to release any more phone for at least a year or two.

  • http://www.andrudes.com Andrude

    Nexus One on Verizon makes no difference. I actually prefer the display and form factor of my Droid on Verizon. And the HTC Incredible looks like a good improvement on the Nexus One. The direct-to-consumer experiment is interesting, but relatively unimportant to me as long as subsidies remain so high.

  • http://Website Fuzzone

    I have been with Verizon for over 7 years now. I also waited for the longest time for the Nexus One to arrive on Verizon. I rely heavily on Google apps and services for my every day use. Not just for personal work but also for my business. A phone with purely Google experience was something I had literally waited for years now. Nexus one was everything that I had imagined an ideal phone would be.

    Seamless integration with Google Apps. Big bright screen with vivid color. Solid feel in the hand. Fast processor, noise cancelling and most important of all the open OS. These are all the hallmarks of what I, and I am sure countless other people, were looking forward to. If you notice, I have purposefully avoided using the word techie, while describing a Nexus One user. I have seen many more women using an Android phone than geeky men. This is because of the practicality and ease of use of an Android phone. Unlike the iPhone, Android phones tend to be efficient and to the point of what needs to be done, without any frills and bells and whistles.

    So, coming from this past, I was throughly disappointed by Verizon’s decision not to carry the Nexus One. I know that Verizon is a business and is interested in just the bottom line. Nothing else matters. I understand this. However, I think they are making a mistake by refusing to carry the Nexus One. It would have made much better business sense to carry another phone in addition to the Incredible. What does it matter if there are another million phones on their network? They would all be bringing in revenue. regardless of what brand or what the capabilities or shortcomings of the Nexus One phone were, people wanted it. People welcome a choice. It was a win-win solution for all parties concerned. Google, Verizon and the end-user all would have benefited from this choice. Verizon might think it has a business model which is sensible and makes better business sense but times have changed and this controlling business model has become a thing of the past. Hotmail and Yahoo had to follow suit when Google offered a 1Gb email storage. Had they not changed their own business model they would not have survived. Verizon must adapt now too or face mass defections.

    Loyal customers will start leaving, as I am leaving now and going to T-Mobile. Or I might even wait a few days and defect to Sprint if I have to, in order to get the phone of my choice.

    The Incredible is not for me. It has a cheap feel to it and is lacking in the Google experience. The 8 mega pixel camera will not replace the point and shoot, and the only characteristic different about it is that its pictures take up more storage space. And that is the only visible difference.

    Verizon, I am not alone in this. There are many many others who will be leaving the network because of this unfortunate turn of events and Sprint will welcome them with open arms. Sprint might have a terrible customer service, but I hardly ever call Verizon CS as it is. The Sprint network is the same as Verizon’s in many places so coverage is a moot point. Wake up Verizon, there is still time to reverse this decision.

  • http://Website chancy

    Fuck Verizon. Bullshitters.

  • http://Website Bayo

    Can somebody explain to me you the Droid Incredible is not a pretty good alternative to the Nexus One?

    • http://Website chris

      The nexus one has some advantages to the incredible:
      -earlier updates
      -better form factor (my opinion)
      -vanilla android (better in my opinion)
      -noise cancellation

      On the other hand, the incredible has some improvements compared to the nexus one. It would have been nice to have a choice. It is not competition to each other if they are both activated on the same network, is it?
      damn i’m pissed about this. back to therapy i guess.

  • http://Website AP

    they should reduce the price of the Nexus One more, or just not charge tax. $600 for a phone is bloody expensive.

  • http://Website GM

    Couldn’t you just root the Incredible and when Froyo (Android 2.2) is released you can get the update as fast as the Nexus One will receive it?

  • http://Website Ray

    I’m still not sure why everyone is blaming Verizon; it sounds more like Google’s call to me. Verizon wasn’t going to be doing the marketing, the in-store support, sales or anything, so why would they say no? Maybe Google realized that if they can barely handle customer support with T-Mobile’s relatively small customer base, how will they handle Verizon’s? Or maybe Google was afraid to put it against a phone with similar specs assuming that customers would prefer the phone they can just walk into the store and buy.

    • http://Website dipset

      good point, i’m not sure i read anywhere that said verizon was the decision maker behind this. maybe google didn’t want to spend the money to make a cdma phone? also, google was the one that said it was coming to verizon and put it up on their webpage. verizon, as far as i know, didn’t say it was coming to their network.

  • http://Website Ali

    I do not understand Verizon’s decision either. I was waiting for the Nexus One as well but after seeing the specs I will take the Incredible. I like Sense UI anyway and the capacitive touchscreen uses a completely new technology which is much more accurate.

    However, carrying the Nexus One would have been beneficial to all parties. Google would have had access to all of Verizon’s customer base. There was demand as the blogsphere suggested. And Verizon would have gotten customers on contract or otherwise without spending a dime on marketing or cutomer service.

    They did not have to keep it in the store either to avoid competition with the Incredible. If they were worried about losing Incredible’s sales, they could have released it a month after the Incredible.

  • jjl84

    I was disappointed about this decision too. But then I remembered how much VZW has changed in a short year. I had an Omnia before the Droid and they had the GPS locked down so you could only use VZ Nav. It took us a long time of complaining to them to finally get it unlocked. I’m not saying they should have done this, I’m just surprised they released the Droid without turning it into the Backflip. Maybe by the Nexus Two (or whatever) they’ll have progressed more towards an open attitude. Again, I’m not excusing this stupidity, but they have given up a lot of control within a short time, so hopefully it won’t be long before a Google supported phone comes to them.

    Also, coming from someone with a business background, it would be really difficult to see the merits of selling the N1. Think about it…Google (or Apple) comes to you and wants to sell their phone their way and you have absolutely no control over your business. You’ve gotten so used to a certain business model and it’s tough to decide if it’s worth the go ahead to do it Google’s way. They want to lock you into that 2-year contract, and when you buy from them that’s what they do. Again, I don’t like it, but it makes sense from a business perspective.

  • http://Website su2lly

    I think a ported Incredible or EVO would be sweeter then a Nexus 1. Bite the bullet and pay the out of contract price and let the eggheads come up with the rom to run 2.2 as soon as it hits the street.

  • @darifresh

    It’s pretty messed up how if you’re supportive of the move you get neg’d like crazy.

    Anyway, I have a Hero. I love it and its Sense UI. I feel like since I can turn off the Sense and run Android that i’ll forever stick with phones with Sense. Additionally i know that the incredible following should be thick so hopefully they’ll have plenty of roms quickly.

    then again i’m not getting the incredible b/c i’m pro sprint. It’s why I ended up with the Hero when I wanted the Droid. I dont even know if I want the Evo…i’m hoping something amazing comes out…Evo Pro FTW!! lol

  • Pingback: Samsung Galaxy Tab will come in CDMA flavor and offer some pricey accessories | Android Application [dot] us()

  • Pingback: Samsung Galaxy Tab will come in CDMA flavor and offers some pricey accessories | Android Application [dot] us()